Sara Lowes, Tomorrows Laughter

Pleasant but fairly inessential six-song EP from young Manchester songstress. Sara Lowes has played as a session musician with the likes of the Earlies and Micah P. Hinson, but this is her debut solo recording. The songs are a mix of straight-up pop/rock and lovelorn ballads, characterised by Lowes’ strong voice and confident piano playing. It’s good to hear a set of pop songs with piano rather than guitar as the lead instrument. It lends them a warmth and richness that are nicely set off by the vocals of Lowes, who sounds rather like Kate Bush without the drama and mystery.

The two slow songs, “Uniform Days” and “Evening Prayer,” are the undoubted standouts here. On the former, Lowes sings witty couplets like “I could do with you being here, if only to comment on my choice of career,” and infuses them with painful regret. The song is carried along on a floaty cloud of piano and flute, bolstered by swirling cello lines. The latter’s slipping piano riff contributes to a sense of wistful nostalgia that is quite lovely, even though the song outstays its welcome at over five minutes.

The remaining songs are perkier and slighter, and they too tend to drag on for longer than they should. Awkwardly structured and bitty, they flit between piano, electric guitar, brass and Hammond organ without raising much interest in this listener.

The artwork for this release, by the way, is dire: a big man-in-the-moon face sitting on some kind of wagon, with sun rays, tower blocks and and circus-style lettering all jostling for attention. Truly horrible. Whether the lack of an apostrophe in the ‘Tomorrows’ of the title is by accident or design, it’s still inexcusable. And “thank you” is two words, not one as printed several times in the credits.

(originally published in The Sound Projector 17, 2008)

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