By Chris Mineral
Many years ago, a woman is walking through undulating countryside with a grey horse, like Chautauqua.
The horse hears her singing: “All I want, is to one day know myself” and, meanwhile, the Cassini spacecraft, near Saturn directs one of its scientific cameras to take in the edge of the rings of Saturn, with Earth and Mars in the field of vision …
Phantom, the first single from the brand new Sarah Basko album Depth of Field is focused and is all Chrissie Amphlett of Divinyls. Singing firm over a luscious field of flanging synths, an understated arpeggio, continents of keys underpinning the rich, strong Blasko voice, almost smoky, maybe whiskey.
I feel my destiny
Without a sound
Constant force of energy
Laid your hands upon me
When I was a child
Pulled me under water
Planted in the ground
McLean Stephenson is the director of the film clip to Phantom and he has created a moody, atmospheric work, focused on a low-lit Blasko visage.
In a previous episode, Amazing Things from the second Sarah Blasko album What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have (2006) has a sparser production approach that is akin to The Cowboy Junkies and their magnum opus The Trinity Sessions. Producers Sarah Blasko, Robert Cranny and Midnight Oil’s Jim Moginie achieve this semblance of a very live band playing in a church feel.
Maybe that was the aim and scope of that project, but now she is walking through halls that give entrance to lush, magnificent discos in Phantom.
A Shot is the second single from Depth of Field and it has not been a walk in the park for the narrator. There’s a great sense of maturity in the song writing. This song shapes up as a Marianne Faithfull song from her Broken English album.
Blasko can run a mile here, through the finish line. Never Let Me Go is a great song, that goes through brilliant gear changes, starting out sounding like a Kraftwerk song, then, when Blasko sings in a falsetto voice, it is terrain such as Bono singing Lemon, or maybe that difficult woman Renee Geyer. Then she brings out an ace, what sounds like baritone saxes kick in, and we are in the Low Rock realm of that great Chicago band Morphine and that is a very good thing.
I don’t have the time
To walk around in circles
To wonder if I’m right
Or am I doing something wrong
Later, when the strings kick in and Blasko sings the refrain, it is The Supremes and The Shirelles. This is the type of song that Rowland S. Howard would have devoured.
A true signpost for Blasko is her stellar version of David Bowie’s song Life On Mars? from his 1971 album Hunky Dory. She did a performance of this song on a Triple J radio show at the start of 2016 and it is entrancing.
Blasko invests herself in totality in this material, playing her Prophet 08 with another keyboardist at the Sydney studio of that radio station. Not a dry eye in the house at the end of that performance. That is how good she is. At this stage, as a singer, she is hitting her straps, on point, on the mark.
It’s hard to do such great material over consecutive albums. Blasko shakes it up, rolls the dice and gets the job done. Stepping up with great material. Brilliant, like Redkirk Warrior with Regan Bayliss winning the Newmarket Handicap at Flemington over six furlongs in consecutive years in a photo finish over Brave Smash ridden by Craig Williams.
She is not just foxing and she has scope to go further. These songs put Blasko in the box seat to put on a great show for when she next tours. A genuine A-grader. Grader Spader.
Congrats to Fang It! and 3PBs for their great gig for International Women’s Day that included Hospital Pass, Adalita, Camp Cope and Laser Tits.
Gigs / Shows
Sunday Arvos in April – Sunday Arvo Cherry Blues Sessions, Cherry Bar, ACDC Lane
Gomez (UK) – April 2, 170 Russell St
Fang It! – Thursday arvo 3PBS
Break and Enter – 4pm Thursdays 3RRR
Beautiful The Musical – Her Majesty’s Theatre, till April 24
Rose Callaghan – Forum Theatre, during Comedy Festival