Wednesday, 16 October 2013

XSARA - Are There Dragons in Your Heart?

You may remember way back in February of XSARA's debut feature on the blog sharing her EP and news of her album on the way... well, said album Are There Dragons in Your Heart? is available now and I've been invited to take a listen...

In typical XSARA style, it's rich in sultry tones and jazz-influenced feels which suit her mature voice perfectly. Kicking off with She's a Monster, a rocking, upbeat circus-sideshow of a track that is sure to sound even better live, the album takes a step back on Moving On, a heartfelt piano-ballad. It runs around a simple chord progression and is led by the lead vocals, providing a real showcase early on in the album. Strange Love hints at the first full-band jazz feel with smokey, stabby piano chords and a classic ride line, the vocals with a real Paloma Faith-esque tone whilst Sticks and Stones once again dips down slightly with another, slower, piano-led track which soon picks up with a real Nina Simone backdrop to the music.

Sitting pretty in the middle is Business of Bodies, a pick-me-up if ever there was one with great live-sounding drums and sax, vocals and the lower register of the piano picking up the ostinato at the start of each bar. The vocals remain as interesting, with a nod to Anthony Keidis' spoken-word/singing style at times, before It's Not Me drops, dimming the lights on its way past. It's another piano-ballad but there's a certain fragility that isn't present in its predecessors, a certain vulnerability that really sparkles. I'm Your Animal has a nice feel and pace whilst maintaining the classic XSARA sound.

Leading us into the final stages is the frantic One Eyed Man that would be at home on one of the smaller Glastonbury Festival stages in the obscure outer fields in the small hours of Saturday morning, whilst the great-sounding drums pick up where they started, leading the charge in the final track You Got a Problem? It's the perfect summary of the album with breezy sax, sexy vocals and lazy jazz bass.

Are There Dragons in Your Heart is XSARA at her best and is, I'm sure, exactly what her fan base are both hoping for and expect. If you're intrigued, you can preview and purchase a copy for yourself from her Bandcamp page, and be sure to keep up to date with XSARA on Facebook. Enjoy :)

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Thanks for taking the time to write :)