‘Most of the boys were experiments‘ states Anglo-Norwegian artist Sasha Siem in the very first line of her stunning debut album. It’s a strident, opening line and I’m not sure I can think of a better way to summarise ambition and intent.
Not quite into February and I’ve already been alerted to at least two artists who are exciting me more than 2014 ever did. Sasha is one of these. Short lyrical spits of songs which all make a stunning, haunting point. ‘There’s proof on the roof of my mouth‘, she rhymes outlandishly.
Immersed in clever, middle-class, classical stuff, it would appear that her lot has been about opportunity; playing cello at London’s Guildhall, studying at Cambridge and Harvard, all followed up with commissions from Philarmonic and Chamber orchestras. It’s easy to be sniffy about such privilege, especially for those of us who prefer our pop stars to come from the ghetto. But, doing so will deny you the chance to hear something special this Saturday.
It’s a brief album – 12 tracks clocking in at little more than half an hour. Any self respecting music critic is left wanting more. And yet within, there is so much theatrical wordplay and charmed deviance that it’s tough not to fall. Hook, line and sinker, she’s got me with her ‘entangled relationships and binding attachments’, all served up amidst classical, strange, stringed arrangement.
Recent single, So Polite, is worthy of your full attention. It’s very specially angry. If there’s a better mention of Facebook in popular music I’m yet to discover it. It doesn’t end in obvious places . The final ,orchestrated 30 seconds are a joy. Sasha herself says that this is “a rage against fakery, against fear, against hiding the truth and the isolation that can come when community and true care between people is missing.”
One cannot say fairer than that…