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Sandi Thom – Flesh And Blood

| 20 February 2013 | Reply

Label: Guardian Angels Records
Released: 2012
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Sandi Thom - Flesh And Blood CD

A throaty, purring growl emanates from the speakers, crying “Help me, baby” over and over; it’s a bluesy howl that’s reminiscent of the 60’s belters, whilst a guitar picker picks out the blues, a mouth harp wails urgently, and a boogie woogie piano tinkles.  This is Sandi Thom 2012 – yes, she of the 2006 pop hit I Wish I Were A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair), who came to fame via a series of webcasts from her Tooting basement.

On I Owe You Zero and the title track, Thom deftly combines her older, more innocent, pop-oriented style with the bluesy, soulful and more organic direction she has been heading towards in more recent years.

As good as the first clutch of tracks are, it’s track five where things start getting really interesting, with her cover of Leadbelly’s In The Pines:  where Nirvana’s acoustic version was jagged, broken beauty, Thom’s is soaring and orchestral – even without an orchestra – and redolent in an epic, bluesy majesty.

Big Ones Get Away features legendary native Canadian folk singer Buffy Saint-Marie in a touching duet, their voices dancing together remarkably to a late Sixties/early Seventies musical backdrop which wisely lets the vocal talents have the spotlight.  Elsewhere Stones sax player Bobby Keys lends a hand, and the album is produced with style and clarity by Black Crowe Rich Robinson.

The second half of the album shows a remarkable similarity in artistry to none other than the esteemed Mr Robert Plant – rock royalty if ever there was – and his latterday work.  Thom combines rootsy blues with an Americana edge, her heartfelt and passionate vocals and total commitment to the mechanics and reverence of her art – song structure, pushing her own boundaries, vocal and musical delivery.  There are moments when Plant’s work with Alison Krauss or Band Of Joy spring to mind, whilst never detracting from Thom’s own style and grace, and if Thom continues down this road on her musical journey, we can expect something very special indeed from her very soon.

Category: CD Reviews

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