The moment I pressed play on “Devil Came Around,” from Sara Syms’ debut album Fade to Blue, I realized I was in for a real treat. Most notable is Syms’ voice; very sweet but powerful, she has great range and sings with a confidence that shows she is no newbie to music. Her resume is impressive, having played with a number of bands and performed in the Glen Ellyn Children’s Choir. What stands out, though, is how genuine and heartfelt this album is. She has really put her soul into every word and it shows.
Fade to Blue is an album that makes full use of progression from song to song, ebbing and flowing as necessary to get the point across. Early song “Dance On My Grave” and title track “Fade To Blue” are introspective and moving; the latter features a lower tone and pitch than the songs preceding it and offers a great contrast. The two songs feature the slower and somewhat simpler songs on the album, though they are both masterfully composed.
“Hang On To Me” has a fantastic mix of highs and lows, sounding like a fleshed out continuation of the song preceding it. It’s a great transition into “Someday,” which has a very strong piano part that sounds beautiful with her voice layered over it. The violin here is also a nice touch. Due to the development of mood and the lyrical content, one wonders if at some point this was going to be the title track, though it plays very well in its current placement.
We reach an unexpected twist with “Gypsy Dreams.” I get a bit of a smooth jazz vibe song from this one, with the use of both acoustic and electric guitars and great supporting drum work. The trend of songs developing more in complexity continues here as the album melts into “One Last Hit,” a sway heavy song with a little extra spice and kick. It’s got an island vibe enhanced by the percussion and supported by beachy guitar chords. The theme of addiction makes it an even more well rounded song. This was the perfect backing music for the chosen theme.
“To Be In Love” revisits the deeper tone of “Dance On My Grave.” The vocals soar through the instrumentation with certain points and notes emphasized, adding a poignant and flavorful depth to the piece. The following song “Waves Crashing” is another song that paints a beautiful picture of imagery. It really gives the impression of standing on a beach watching the water roll, making it an extremely effective song.
“Free” kicks it up a notch and is in contrast to many of the soulful songs that came before it. Much more happy and cheerful, it seems to represent the breaking of the cycle of reflections and regrets, and is a great song for this release point of the album. It provides the perfect foundation for closer “All We Have Is Now,” a future-facing compilation of all of the themes explored earlier. It is the clear ending to this album and does a fantastic job of tying everything together and giving a sense of resolution.
Fade To Blue is overall a very calm and soothing listen, and reminds me of something I would hear in a small, comfy coffee shop. Syms’ sultry vocals, along with powerful and skillful backing instruments, make for a masterfully composed and well-rounded debut effort, and is a fantastic listen.
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