Review Summary: This might just be a collection of B-Sides and a few re-worked tracks, but it comes together as much more than that.
This has been a pretty productive twelve months for Sarah Fimm. It all started with a little EP called White Birds
that hinted at a potential musical transition. Just nine months later that potential became reality in the form of her fourth full-length album, Red Yellow Sun
. The big transition that White Birds
had only hinted at was the move from electronic-based songs to compositions that relied much more on acoustic guitars and classical instrumentation. Not only did Red Yellow Sun
make the transition without any issues, but it also did it so well that the lack of electronics was quickly forgotten about. For most artists an EP and a full album that features a substantial musical adjustment would be enough work for one year, but it turns out that Sarah Fimm isn’t quite finished. It’s been less than three months since the release of Red Yellow Sun
, and she is back with The Vanishing Sessions (B-Sides Part 1)
It should be apparent from the title that this isn’t so much a new album as it is a collection of unreleased songs along with a few re-worked tracks from previous albums. The interesting thing is that you’d never think for a moment that anything less than 100% went into the crafting of each of these songs. From the droning synths and haunting vocals of opener “Vanishing” to the gritty rock of “Be Like Water (Acoustic)”, every song is good enough that it could have been featured on one of Sarah’s four albums. In fact, one has to wonder why some of these songs were never used before now. Second track, “Fragile”, is a perfect example with its unique mix of electronics, harp, cello and trip hop beats. This eclectic collection of influences isn’t just limited to individual tracks though; the entire album features an array of inspiration. Over the course of The Vanishing Sessions
there’s modern rock, a proggy instrumental that features Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle
, Nine Inch Nails
) and Tony Levin (King Crimson
, Liquid Tension Experiment
), mellow piano pieces, chill trip-hop and much more – and, amazingly, it all flows together fluidly.
Someone once commented that Sarah likes to freely move between acoustic, rock and electronic music and that her curious nature causes her to try whatever has captured her attention at the time – no album has proven that statement more than this one. Over the course of 14 songs Sarah delivers dark electronic drones, heartfelt piano ballads, a proggy instrumental and some energetic rock. What’s more is that she brings all these styles together in a cohesive way that doesn’t make the listener feel as if they’re listening to something that was haphazardly thrown together. No, as with every other Sarah Fimm release, it’s obvious that a lot of work and dedication went into the creation of this album. Here’s hoping that this assortment of influences continues to capture her attention.