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Sandi Thom
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  • Smile, It Confuses People,
  • The Pink And The Lily,








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Sandi Thom

    Smile, It Confuses People 5 ( 2005 )
    When Horsepower Meant What It Said / I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) / Lonely Girl / Sunset Borderline / Little Remedy / Castles / What If I'm Right / Superman / Human Jukebox / Time

    I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair? Surely there's some mix up going on here. Whilst the term 'punk' was indeed around during the 60s, eg 'you no good punk', etc, it doesn't exactly make sense to me to marry punk with flowers in hair hippies. I understand this longing for the past. Everything looks better through rose tinted spectacles, but was it really better? I only remember as far back as the late seventies/early eighties. Even the pop of the early 80s is now seen as some kind of golden age. Reason for this? People forget the rubbish and remember the good. Well, by and large. People also remember the novelty hits, which leads me nicely onto Sandi Thom. With a CD that proudly proclaims this is the girl who webcast her concerts, the hook is different to what we've encountered before. The internet improving every year in capability and speed has meant there are existing boundaries to be broken and plenty of innovative ways of using the net. A large figure was quoted with regards to the number of people Sandi Thom broadcast to as an unsigned artist. The acoustic with weird instruments, mid-tempo romp of 'I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker' survives on its sparse and eccentric instrumentation, as well as the vocals of Sandi. It's funny, it's endearing for the first few listens. You may agree with 'the message' that's being given. It's joined to make up an appropriate beginning to the LP by 'When Horsepower Meant What It Said', another quirky lyric married to a band performance this time, but still retaining a clean and sparse sound.

    I like the sound of the LP, a lot of singer/songwriter LPs like this, particularly debut LPs, suffer from overly fussy production. Sandi Thom manages to avoid this trap and avoid being tied to the commercial contemporary production standards of the day. All well and good, but we need to look at the heart and soul of this record, don't we? I've mentioned a few laudable things so far, which all count, yet what about those songs of Sandi Thom's? There's a decent EPs worth of songs here. I've mentioned two of them already, I won't mention any more individually, rather speak in general. We've terribly cliched lyrics and lyrics centred around entirely predictable subjects. The tunes themselves are pleasant rather than impressive and offer nothing at all new. Sandi doesn't sound like she's actually got anything interesting to say worth hearing, although a few songs here and there hint at a different worldview. The kind of worldview that creates album highlights, 'Horsepower' and 'Punk Rocker'. Sandi plays guitar, it's hard to say she plays well, but she plays entirely competently. The other musical backing never overwhelms her, although her slightly one-dimensional voice threatens constantly to overwhelm the entire LP. This particular problem, married to the lack of variety and lack of enough interesting or exciting moments mean I can't possibly rate this LP highly. Why? Well, I don't really enjoy listening to it very much. It sags under it's own weight and pretensions approximately half-way through, every single listen. It's a shame, but there you are.

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    The Lily And The Pink 6 ( 2008 )
    Devil's Beat / Shape I'm In / Wounded Hearts / Saturday Night / Beatbox / Remote Control Me / Success's Ladder / Mirrors / Music In My Soul / The Pink and the Lily / I'm A Human Being / The Last Picturehouse / My Ungrateful Heart

    Her reputation in tatters after the PR stunt she employed last time out blew up in her face when it turned out to be a record company idea and an exaggerated one that at, Sandi retreated to do what singer/songwriters do, write songs. The end result is 'The Pink And The Lily' and actually, it's better than that flowers in her hair rubbish the last time out. 'Remote Control Me' for example is a cracking song employing a full band over which her voice sails out strongly. This is a catchy piece and deserves to be heard. Elsewhere, she still manages to irritate with quirky, novelty instrumentation and an unwavering, straight voice that cuts right through you in a most unwelcoming manner. I'm thinking of the likes of 'I'm A Human Being', a song that also suffers from really crap lyrics. Say it straight, say it straight, say it straight? Ok, I will. 'The Pink & The Lily' is far better an album than her debut set and here's hoping she's allowed time to develop further. 'Mirrors' for instance doesn't have crap lyrics, it has her acoustic, a bass, drums and some strings. they don't make mirrors like they used to she sings, and why not? This is another song that like 'Remote Control Me' seems ready-made to add some decent music into the top of the hit parade. What, you'd rather have Sam Sparrow? Shame on you!

    'Music In My Soul' opens with a very attractive guitar sound before descending into heavy, synthesized bass-sounds. The lyrics are about the sixties. She should leave that subject alone already. 'Beatbox' however illustrates all that is good and bad about Sandi Thom in the same song. Whereas a folky like Nelly Furtado can call on top sessions players and inventive producers to help sculpt her material into something modern and fresh, Sandi Thom seems to have to rely on second rate arrangements and musicians that don't actually add anything distinctive. So, although 'The Pink & The Lily' is a step forward for Sandi, it's not yet anything like an artistic peak, rather a mere couple of steps up the road towards a turning not yet seen.

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    Readers Comments

    Paul Henry Scotland
    I wanted to judge this album as the artist herself wanted it to be judged on its merits and not the previous Hype. This girl really need to find a better production/songwriting team. Both are dismal on this album and at times downright cringe worthy. Yet again she has shot herself in the foot with her internet antics and blogs by trying to generate interest by calling out other artists who frankly she isnt even in the same league as (Lily Allen) as can be seen by the total indifference the public had to the album and subsequent single releases from it. The poor lyric content and weedy production sound should never have got past her record companys doors but it seems RCA is happy to let her fade into obscurity by her own hand. One other thing she needs to learn is to not gush in public and in the press of her charity busking event to help people living with cancer while also mentioning her latest single which when it failed to chart caused her to suddenly cry! exhaustion and not do her charitable work only to re-appear a week later shouting about how many shows she had attended at london fashion week. That sort of action will do her nothing to endear herself to the public and comes across very badly.


    top of page this page last updated 17/10/08


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