Brooke Sharkey - One Dress
Brooke Sharkey makes an impressive debut with One Dress, an album of carefully crafted, delicate folk songs. Having spent some years in France as a teenager, the young Brit learnt her craft by busking around Europe, Central America, and – to this day - Columbia Road Flower Market in East London.
While there is a definite Celtic flavour throughout her elegant, sweetly mournful tunes (the title track being a prime example), Sharkey is happy to mix styles indiscriminately. The downbeat ‘Home’ suddenly dips into a frenzy of klezmer-style fiddling, while ‘My Apple’ has a slightly spooky and ethereal sound, along with some traditional gospel-style background vocals. ‘Our Ways’ is an irresistible combination of French and English lyrics, breathy Gallic notes blended seamlessly with a cheeky London accent, as if Kate Nash had been suddenly possessed by Edith Piaf. Despite using a soft vibrato throughout much of the record, Sharkey has a remarkable range and when the full force of her vocal power kicks in, you might find yourself wondering where the hell that voice came from. ‘Scarecrows and Roundabouts’ for example, has a gentle, slightly eerie gypsy folk vibe, until Sharkey gives the vocals a blast into diva territory. If you like Martha Tilston for example, you will love the thoughtful, vintage-style tunes here.