Review Summary: "Whoever told you beautiful things don't die? I can't wait to see you again."
There’s something overwhelmingly peaceful about the cover of Sarabeth Tucek’s latest endeavor, Get Well Soon
. While clearly a painting, it seems to divulge subtle undertones of harmony and tranquility through a row boat – one that rests on the still, glass-like surface of a small lake. The music of Tucek’s second album is definitely a reflection of that image, plunging into a rich but organic acoustic atmosphere that would never reveal what Sarabeth was actually
going through at the time: the tragic passing of her father due to a massive heart attack. But upon careful listening, somber moments and moving tributes can be found around every corner of Get Well Soon
, as Sarabeth Tucek displays admirable doses of fortitude and delivers the simplest yet most moving album of her young career.
Get Well Soon
is built upon two solid foundations: Sarabeth’s limber, caressing vocals and the careful yet unpredictable direction she takes the music with her guitar. ‘Wooden’ sticks out as the album at its ripest, commencing with a gentle vocal melody overtop of folk-tinged acoustic picking that is gradually augmented by distant, thunderous drum beats and finally a soaring, triumphant electric guitar riff which seemingly comes out of nowhere. Such is the nature of an album as fragile as Get Well Soon
, one that despite Tucek’s established sound reveals instability and spontaneity throughout. Even on this figuratively winding road, Get Well Soon
gathers momentum as it goes on, until it is eventually swelling with a combination of acoustic folk perfection and electronic elements that provide just the right amount of sparkle to the record’s bare-bones simplicity. ‘At the Bar’ and ‘Rising’ both demonstrate Sarabeth’s ability to venture into less charted electric territory, although is feels more like a confident progression than a departure given the way that Get Well Soon
unravels. Led by pianos in the song’s forefront, the echoing verses sung by Sarabeth in ‘At the Bar’ provide some much needed variation within the album’s sonic course, preventing it from becoming a one-woman-and-her-guitar affair (not that it still wouldn’t have been amazing).
These inclusions are but mere accentuations to Sarabeth Tucek’s greatest strengths, though. Get Well Soon
is still very much an acoustic
album, as the vast majority of it could be likened to Barnaby Bright or perhaps even Papercranes, both of whom are at their best when they let the rawness of their instrumental talent set the tone for the album. The serene opener ‘The Wound and the Bow’ establishes that course from the get go, with beautiful acoustic picking and hypnotizing vocals that make you feel like she is singing you to sleep on your living room couch. On the other side of twelve songs we have the title track, ‘Get Well Soon’, which acts as another bookend holding the record’s central ideas together…in a fashion similar to ‘The Wound and the Bow’, it runs slowly and smoothly like molasses, but with a slight ebb and flow to inject it with Tucek’s soon-to-be-renowned musical personality. Neither bookend is leaps and bounds above her other, equally impressive creations here – ‘Things Left Behind’ is a particularly noteworthy mid-album gem – but they define the essence of Get Well Soon
in a way that invites the listener in and then beckons repeat listens upon his/her departure.
Get Well Soon
is stripped down, pensive, and grief stricken – yet Sarabeth Tucek is able to disguise (or at least immerse) her anguish within the lush atmospheres that she recorded over fifteen days in the basement of a small Pennsylvania house. After listening to Get Well Soon
and hearing her story, the void in that boat (on the cover) begins to take on a different, much more depressing meaning. But if we can take solace in one thing, it is that the painting is not a metaphor for Tucek’s career as an artist, one that shows resiliency and a ton of promise. For now, Get Well Soon
gives us a glimpse of brilliance from one of the most candid singer/songwriters to surface in recent years.