Genre: singer / songwriter
Slow, ethereal pop from UK singer/songwriter Sophie Barker is
what you get with Earthbound, a strong debut solo album from
the ex-member of Groove Armada and Zero 7. This album
sounds like The Cranberries and Sarah McLachlan at
times, with a mature, elegant sound that will likely appeal more to
the adults than the kiddies. Her melodies evolve slowly, moving along
under the pleasant lush arrangements and providing a nice, coffeeshop
vibe. At times the songs can be a bit cliché and lame (opening line to
the album: "do you wanna let me into your soul?"), but a bit of
corniness can be excused when the rest of the record is this solid.
Songs like "Dreamlife" and "Wintertime" act as simple but effective
vehicles for Barker's impressively
pretty voice. In essence, the formula remains the same throughout the
record - lush ballads with uplifting choruses - but it works. The
darker "Start Me" is a personal favourite, as it adds depth to the
record's mood, while the programmed beats of "Angel"
interesting punch to the song's wandering structure. Sarah
McLachlan and Sinead O'Connor are fine points of reference,
as there are some definite connections to those acts on Earthbound.
Sure, this music may sound like it belongs on the Dawson's Creek
soundtrack, but if adult alternative is your bag, that shouldn't be a
[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by
the label, released 2006]