The definition for sentient is the ability to feel or perceive things and the debut EP Sentient from Melbourne native Kelly Sarena, definitely has a ton of feeling. Although she typically writes music that starts with a melody and a few chords, the songwriting and stories within songs are what she enjoys the most. Songs of love, betrayal, compassion and her deep vegan conviction are all present in her songs. With a mix of pop and indie folk, Sarena had a full band to back her up — Ben Korasani on drums and bass, Ashley Thomas on keys and alto sax and Rebekah Benjamin on backing vocals. Sara Nelson did the recording, mixing and mastering as Brighde Kennedy did the EP’s eye catching cover art.
To start things off, “Moving Fast” has an interesting rim shot tap on the snare as the band breaks into playing all together. It was a delight on this song and throughout the EP to hear Sarena sing with such beautiful clarity and control. Her voice has a nice, warm tone to it that’s rich. “Blue Veins” begins with Sarena singing alone “just take a deep breath in” and then piano and drums drop in. This one had a sort of contemporary jazz vibe with the piano and alto sax trading notes.
“Through the Glass” starts off with light, tender piano and vocals and continues with this duet throughout the tune. This one tore me up inside with its lyrics and sad, sorrowful feeling (not sad meaning it was bad, sad, as it was really damn good!) Lines like: “I’m sick of watching you / Always longing for the past” and “our love story won’t die” and further on “when witnessed your last breath, through the glass.” I can’t say what this song is about, but wow…such powerful words.
“On The Edge” has an edgier beat as Sarena starts to sing. Guitar and piano join in, in this indie folk number. The words to the song suggest a bitter break up and a longing for two people to maybe get back together, but the damage has already been done: “You’re the one who pushed me away / Turned your back and left me standing.” The ending was quite unique – a kind of “carnival music-polka-oom-paa-paa” thing going – I don’t how else to describe it but it was a great ending.
“Truth” really cuts to the core of Sarena’s convictions as a vegan. The drums begin playing on the toms as piano joins in, while the lyrics speak words of concern, inhumanity and the illegal nature of animals being kept in unsanitary, unsafe conditions – all in the name of producing a product that the majority of humans consume. Sarena’s choice of words grabbed my attention with their candidness, not to mention directness – really made me think twice.
The last song “1000 Sundowns” is a cover tune by one of Sarena’s favorite recording artists Emma Louise. It features her along with keyboard. Lyrically, Sarena could have easily written this song because it fit so well with her own writing. I never heard Emma Louise’s version of this tune before, so I didn’t know what it would be about in terms of content. This song for me, and I assume for many others, is relatable. It’s about looking back on a past relationship with sadness, but also deep reverence for what two people once shared together. This one definitely choked me up. Louise’s chosen words on “1000 Sundowns” is universal and as with the other songs on her debut EP, Kelly Sarena’s voice delivers those words with a tender richness that I hope to hear more of.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook