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The Sours — The Sours
(Moonjune ZM003, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-05-29

The Sours Cover artOne may immediately be reminded of the late 1960s and early 1970s post-psychedelic emergence of the singer-songwriter ‘less-is-more’ musical ethic, where great lyrics, simple accompaniment and a strong vocalist could rule the day. Indeed, so many decades later this style still conveys warmth, honesty, and brilliance, and is a joy to hear. The Sours is essentially a duo, Sasha Markovic plays acoustic guitar, and Sarah Schrift sings and also plays acoustic guitar, the two penning all of their own music and lyrics with spirited expressiveness and no pretensions; on a couple tracks the duo is joined by pianist Kana Kamitsubo, who also shares writing credits on one of the cuts. The eleven tracks are presented no-frills, all in the two-to-four minute range, with the voice and song lyrics out front, and just enough acoustic accompaniment to give each piece some flavor and form. Schrift’s voice has a soulful and somewhat introspective and smoky quality that brings the listener back for many repeat listens, and only in a couple places do we hear any overdubbed vocal harmonies – most notably on “R for Regret”, just enough to leave you wanting more. Other standouts are closer “Egret,” essentially a solo vocal piece, and a very powerful one, and “Seawitch” that fuses some jazzy and old-timey folk styles with an outstanding modern production – just mentioning these, but truly every song here is a winner. Although Schrift’s voice is definitely her own, one might look all the way back to Joni Mitchell in her Clouds period for a similarly styled recording and production style. Most should find this collection of songs compelling; for myself, it’s hard to stop pushing the replay button.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): The Sours

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