Sia - Colour the Small One
Russell Degnan

If Sia's album is a testament to the ability Australian artists have to get me to buy their stuff with a little airplay and a cool album cover, then it is also a ringing endorsement of that policy. This is brilliant, from the opening chords of the slow Rewrite to the upbeat closing song Where I Belong that makes you want to put it on again.

The production on this album is excellent, with barely an extraneous note, allowing Sia's great voice to dominate the songs, even as they become complex soundscapes. For the most part, the songs are groovy, occasionally depressing, and towards the end of the album, some jazz influences come through. It is unique, though for a comparison, think of Goldfraap's Felt Mountain album, or the less angst-ridden works of Tori Amos. Alternatively, consider the two songs she sung on Zero 7's last album, or Beck, who co-wrote one song. One of the best albums of last year.

Track Highlights
Sunday - Great use of a clarinet at the start, setting the tone and beat that becomes the most gorgeous flute-driven chorus.
Breathe Me - Beautiful song driven by the orchestra and the piano, and subsequently losing this strength in the remix that got all the airplay.
The Bully - Co-written with Beck, and the highlight of the tracks with groove.
Don't Bring Me Down - The most moody song, combining Sia's great vocal strength with an example of how to use a string orchestra.

Finer Things 12th March, 2005 18:04:20   [#]