Sophie Barker - Seagull
If you were one of the many people who bought the Rumer album for Mother's Day this year, then the sophomore effort from Bradford's Sophie Barker might be one to add to your Amazon wishlist for when ma's birthday or Christmas rolls round. On opener 'Paradise Lost', Barker doesn't sound a million miles away from Dido, setting the scene for the kind of album that washes over you and would be best reserved for Sunday afternoons. Barker has some songwriting clout, writing for dance-based acts like David Guetta and Groove Armada in the past and frequently collaborating with Zero 7, including on 'In the Waiting Line' for which she also provided vocals. The chilled nature of the latter carries over to her own work, with Barker's warm and comforting voice fronting songs that never rise above mid-tempo. It's not an unpleasant listen at all, with ambient electronic touches complimenting the classic songwriting on show; however, Seagull is unlikely to be embraced fully by anyone other than committed devotees of acoustic-based female singer/songwriters. The ethereal soul of 'Maybe I' is a highlight and 'Bluebell' could be a crossover Radio 2 hit but although the ten songs here clearly display a talent at work, as an album Seagull never really soars.