Sarah Bethe Nelson returns with a second album of her smartly-formed indie-pop. Oh, Evolution is bright and beautiful, pulling in 60’s California flavours, 70’s AOR flavours and modern garage flavours all together. Oh, Evolution is released in both vinyl and digipak CD editions by Burger Records.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 01 March 2017
Ah the chiming sound of the lesser heard rickenbacker. The once ubiquitous 12 string jangle which no-one ever uses these days is heard in spades on the opening 'Hazy' from this San Franciscan based songwriter. It's a lovely breezy tune with stacked harmonies and the sort of laid back sound that only comes seemingly from living in the West coast of America.
You could compare Sarah Bethe's sound here perhaps to Tanya Donnelly or Miranda Lee Richards but on 'Evolution' she shows a harder edge with some fuzzed up guitars and a glitter band stomp. There's a different flavour to all these tracks with Nelson mining different areas of rock's rich tapestry for inspiration which leads to a mixed bag of sounds. 'Sugar Factory' is a lo-fi stomp with hints of Kim Deal in the sweet as honey helium high vocals but is followed by the country laments of 'Bright Thing' or 'Face the Waves' and the general impression here is of a good singer songwriter who can't decide which exact path to follow.
My two penneth is that she is at her best when penning big chunky pop songs such as 'Out of Reach' and the aforementioned 'Hazy' which hark back the 'classic' era of girl groups from American Spring to the Bangles. But she's kind of ok at everything so let's let her decide eh?
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