Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Sara Lov - Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming (* * * *)

Singer/songwriters are a dime a dozen these days, and unfortunately the cream doesn't always immediately rise to the top, leaving scores of talented musicians with a very limited reach. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen with Sara Lov, the former Devics frontwoman who will be releasing her debut solo album, Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming, this week. Lov (her real name) is a gifted songwriter with a lovely voice that fills her beautifully composed songs with emotion and life. Her relaxed pop-folk style is at times haunting, and on other occasions simple and sweet, but always effective at gracefully working its way under your skin and into your heart.

Lov's backing band, led by producer Zac Rae, give her melodies the appropriate accompaniment throughout 'Seasoned Eyes,' leaving empty space when necessary and occasionally enhancing her tunes layers of subtle instrumentation. Opener "Just Beneath the Chords" is a soaring waltz (a common time signature on the album) with keyboards, drums, and guitar providing a big, full sound, while "Animals" keeps things more sparse, using finger-picked guitar, cello, and soft percussion as a backdrop for a duet featuring guest Alex Brown Church (of Sea Wolf). The record closes spectacularly with the melancholy ballad "Fountain," which showcases Lov's way with relatable, yet unique and expressive lyrics. Each tune feels carefully crafted and each line sincerely written, which gives the album a very personal and unrestrained edge. The open nature of her music makes Love's stories much more interesting and emotionally affecting.

The record features two tracks previously released on Sara's The Young Eyes EP, the hopeful, warm title track and the delicately gorgeous "New York," along with a very worthy cover of Simon and Garfunkle's "Old Friends." The older tracks blend seamlessly in with her new material for a solid album with few weak moments and a handful of fantastic songs. Lov's music is genuine and refreshing, and Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming is a record that deserves to be heard.

Check Sara Lov out on MySpace