Unflinching, clear-eyed and brutally honest soul-searching can often reveal the most telling and beautiful truths in the hands of an artist with a soul that's actually worth searching. Suburban Nature (May 18, Kirtland -- digital now), the provocative and quietly commanding debut album from 24-year-old Denton, Texas singer/songwriter Sarah Jaffe strips back, track by amazing track, any remnants of artifice or glossy veneer to get to the naked core of the personal joys, pains and haunting imagery that pulse beneath her bruised, resilient skin. But this journey is no weak-kneed sob story. Jaffe gives as good as she gets and by the time the closing notes fade you feel a mix of relief and exhilaration, a soul bearing session of self-realization spun into melodies that beg immediate revisiting.
"I'm a fan of life’s wicked ironies," says Jaffe. " These things that reveal the truth from an aerial view nowhere near your perspective of the situation, and through these realizations you find redemption.” Suburban Nature producer John Congleton captures this intimacy by making Jaffe's naturally unmannered vocals the "focal point" surrounded by "as much space as possible." From the stripped ballads "Wreak Havoc" and "Stay With Me", where you can practically feel Jaffe's whispered breath on your ear, to the shimmering riffs and simmering heat of the mini-epic "Summer Begs", this is an album of brilliantly understated, finely crafted miracles. Highly recommended.
Sarah Jaffe - "Stay With Me" (from the album Suburban Nature)
Sarah Jaffe - "Summer Begs" (from the album Suburban Nature)
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Photo Credit: Melanie Gomez