It was with a certain sense of trepidation that we approached the first track from Sarah Cracknell’s forthcoming album Red Kite. After all here is a woman who is partly responsible for three of our favourite records of the 90’s; namely Foxbase Alpha, So Tough and the much under rated Tiger Bay, with her band St Etienne. They’re a group who utterly understand pop. Thankfully we needn’t have worried, for On The Swings is gorgeous. It may have taken her 18 years to get round to recording a second solo body of work, but it seems as if it has been worth the wait.
On The Swings is a wonderfully soft focus, pastoral sounding piece that sounds as if it’s floated dreamily in from the first summer of love. Sarah’s breathy vocal sashays gently over the top of the retro dream-folk backing that flourishes with references towards easy listening, Marianne Faithfull and Twin Peaks production, immediately casting a golden spell as she sings “she’s never gonna stay in your arms.” Oh, so lovely.
For those of you in the UK, there are a number of opportunities to see Sarah this year. First on a short UK tour in June (dates here) and then St Etienne themselves will be performing the whole of Foxbase Alpha at End of the Road festival in September. Breaking More Waves will of course be in attendance for both. Red Kite is released June 15th - it also features a guest spot from Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers on a song called Nothing Left To Talk About.
Sarah Cracknell - On The Swings