sarah mary chadwick

Album Review

It is the unashamedly bold melancholic introspection that is Chadwick's greatest asset and signature style.

Sarah Mary Chadwick - Sugar Still Melts In The Rain

Squeezing a lifetimes experience through a sieve of aching ballads, culminates in an unassuming yet concentrated mixture of tracks on Sarah Mary Chadwick’s new record, Sugar Still Melts In The Rain.

The opening piano of Flow Over Me drips gently in conjunction with Chadwick’s characteristic aching vocals. Recanting family disunity, Chadwick releases the inner anguish all the while not wanting to burden the naïve listener to the struggles she so effortlessly explores.

Alternating simplified drums and piano, the choking vocals in It’s Never OK belie a sense of stifled triumph. A cautious defiance, Chadwick summons a resilience that despite a lifetime of struggle, the albeit small, naked flame still burns strongly.

The solitary piano notes gently caressed on Bauble On A Chain are echoed by Chadwick’s questioning lyrics. Querying shallow daily trivialities in the face of deeper, more spiritual requirements of the soul. A spotlight on the dark places Chadwick unearths so frequently.

The longing expressed in Five Months is another highly relatable topic of despair and yearning for a loved one to return. Simply written and simply spoken, the emotional craving played out on the piano as a conduit is an elegant transfusion of sonic pain.

At times it is hard to tell if Chadwick is in the groove or stuck in a rut. Lost Overwhelmed And Unsafe continues in the solitary vein of striking single keys and pondering an unshakable sense of insecurity.

A fuller production on Waiting On A Session continues to have a strong influence of keys but the greater inclusion of drums brings a little more depth as the album unfurls.

Recanting past times and lost conversations, Wind Wool is a drinking tale. A slow, meandering waltz with a fondness for the times spent talking and talking before the drink becomes too much.

An empty track, I Won’t Say Goodbye is as devoid of instruments as is the love that has parted from Chadwick’s experience of a lost relationship. The bare essentials of organ and vocals mimics the absence of explanation by a partner who has walked without reason.

Single key stokes in Become Foam paints the picture of an emotional farewell carried by the physical parting of a boat from a wharf. A tired and exposed Chadwick “retreats from the shore”.

Title track Sugar Still Melts In The Rain is am ambling song, tripping and stumbling over itself as if trying to prevent a repeat of the pain it so accurately describes. Detailing shame, change and perception, a track that defiantly toasts to an inevitable crumble.

As if it was an insight into Chadwick’s creative world Dancing Slowly is a classic track in its simplicity and centrality. Chadwick’s ability to place the listener front row and centre as if the sole occupant in a cold bar after hours is what she does so well.

By looking back it is easy to gauge where one succeeds and fails in life. In Felt My Heart, there is an uplifting piano accompaniment to what is a tracing of past history and realisation of one’s current position on this mortal coil. Hard to say if it is where Chadwick wants to be but irrespectively acknowledging what has come to pass.

It is the unashamedly bold melancholic introspection that is Chadwick’s greatest asset and signature style. A life of pain poured through a sieve in such relatable doses that make what can be a hard listen so palatable to all who join Chadwick on the reality trip that is Sugar Still Melts In The Rain.

Sugar Still Melts In The Rain by Sarah Mary Chadwick