Sandi Thom's put a lot of love into The Pink and The Lily, but sometimes love's just...
Sophie Bruce 2008-06-06
The last time Sandi Thom released an album, it was on the wave of an internet sensation; namely an international live webcast from her own basement. Cue her debut single, the opinion splitting I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker shooting immediately to number one, followed swiftly by debut album Smile… It Confuses People.
It's fair to say then, that the 26-year-old Scot has a lot to live up to with album two, The Pink and The Lily. Recorded in the very same Tooting basement she virtually toured from in 2006, simplicity is still the key. Uncomplicated rhythms, pared-down instruments and childlike vocals – there’s nothing challenging about Sandi Thom.
The album kicks off with The Devil's Beat, the cleverly chosen first single. It's a rip roaring musical romp, written about the perils of global warming. The song sits apart from much of the album, which largely remains in the confines of the inoffensive, upbeat folky-pop ballads that helped sell a million copies of the debut longplayer.
Fans of I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker will like the catchy simplicity of I'm A Human Being and Success's Ladder, whose opening acapella bars hark back to her first No.1. Music In My Soul has a fantastic melody punctuated by tinkling guitars and punchy bass, while Beatbox is one of the album's stand-out successes - a banjo-led ditty with an uplifting choral wave reminiscent of Carly Simon's Let The River Run.
Romance is one of the key themes on the album, particularly on old-fashioned romantic ballad The Last Picturehouse. And My Ungrateful Heart is a love song dedicated to Thom's boyfriend and producer Jake Field, which improves slightly with her revelation that it was a one-take wonder, recorded hungover in her pyjamas.
Even the album title has romantic connotations. The Pink and The Lily is a Buckinghamshire pub named in honour of the first landlord's parents who were scandalously sacked from a local manor house in the 1830s when it was discovered they'd conceived a child out of wedlock.
The record tinkles pleasantly along, but won’t win any prizes for edginess. Sandi Thom's put a lot of love into The Pink and The Lily, but sometimes love's just not enough.