Sarah June - In Black Robes
Gothic-folk singer-songwriter Sarah June's debut album In Black Robes can be a bit unsettling on the first listen. Her child-like voice, reminiscent of Johanna Newsom or Cranes' Alison Shaw, and accompanied solely by acoustic guitar sounds ghostly, haunted and decidedly eerie. Get past that however and you discover beautifully crafted songs steeped in the folk and blues tradition. 'Cowboy', 'Bluesy Melody' and 'Brand Of Bitterness' have a jazzy feel to them while 'Judgment Day' ("The hooded man with the bony hand / he pointed to me one day") and 'The Reaper' have that scary messin'-with-the-devil storyline of the old blues classics. 'From My Window High', Paper Lantern and 'In Your Chevrolet' are delightfully pure folk, June's voice transporting the songs along while adding a distinctive and original element often missing in tradition folk fare. In Black Robes is a lovely debut record, unusual and unsettling and very enjoyable, with 13 distinctive tunes that should appeal to adventurous folkies and indie listeners alike.