Sarah Elizabeth Haines's Facebook bio says she's still trying to figure things out, with strings, which is kind of funny because she's pretty accomplished already, having trained as a violinist and violist and touring the States with Hamilton. She's also part of Bellehouse who released their debut album Capsized in 2017.
I was naturally quite delighted when Sarah contacted me about her solo album Pretending to Sleep, which is being released to the world today.
Pretending to Sleep
Pretending to Sleep is one of those albums that defies definition. There are strings and Sarah's voice and an unmistakable sense of calm and peace running through the album, or maybe I'm just ready to curl up for the winter and lose myself in her music.
The album begins with the daunting anticipation of "Losing Game", the third single released from the album. I was sold within the few first seconds of those strings, which reminded me of Fionn Regan's 100 Acres of Sycamoreand I was a fan by the time Sarah's vocals and harmonising began.
Sarah sings about loss and the breakdown of relationships and she's at her best when she's defiant. "Let Me Down" should be a mantra for every fierce woman determined to walk away from a broken heart.
I don't wanna break your heart but you broke mine first so I guess we'll call it even
"Petrified" and "Let's Try That Again" are my favourite tracks on the album, although I don't like to pick favourites because all the tracks on this album should be loved equally. Most of the tracks on Pretending to Sleep are searching and melodic, but these tracks are more theatrical and dramatic, picking up the pace somewhat and providing a brief interlude of mischief and defiance.
Pretending to Sleep is relatively short at 35 minutes but it's a rare album these days in that it's clearly designed to be listened to as a whole. And so I will, over and over again as it becomes my soundtrack for autumn 2019.
Recommended if you like: Mackenzie Shivers, Aimee Mann, Laura Marling, Madeline Peyroux.
Image Credits © Britannie Bond Photography | Elizabeth Maney