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Album Review: Sahara Beck ‘Panacea’

Sahara Beck Panacea

Sassy Sunshine Coast songstress Sahara Beck is preparing to release her second full-length album ‘Panacea’, and there’s a whole lot to love about it!

Her lead single Here It Comes is the perfect start to the album, balancing soft and pure with badass and hardcore and proving that Beck is so much more than your average folk singer. She shows incredible artistic maturity and vocal control with this edgy, hauntingly sweet arrangement, and the song takes on a whole new life with a recreation of Pink Floyd’s psychedelic rock banger The Great Gig In The Sky. 

“Take Sia’s edgy vocals and Summer Flake’s distinctive summery rock vibe, and you have Sahara Beck at her best.”

Beck shows off her penchant for matching narrative to melody in Tapping On The RoofThe irresistible bass riff and dance rhythm lay the foundation for a dance number – playful percussion beneath an upbeat melody makes the perfect energy booster, complete with bursts of tastefully minimal harmony. The halfway mark highlights the hesitant, syncopated vocal rhythms, allowing just enough time to appreciate the sweetness of each incremental change.

For those who love a good genre crossover, Spinning Time is the perfect example of a soft rock-meets- theatrical indie pop song. Take Sia’s edgy vocals and Summer Flake’s distinctive summery rock vibe, and you have Sahara Beck at her best. A syncopated dance rhythm is often the only accompaniment to Beck’s strong yet sensitive vocals, and before the last chorus she slips in dreamy bridge section, complete with tambourine and sliding vocals.

Ooh Lala is like the soundtrack to a Sunday afternoon fever dream. Off-kilter guitar vibrato leaves plenty of room for an expressive vocal performance, and Beck doesn’t disappoint. Her perfect timing and skilfully sultry vocal slides lead into the chorus where light, bubbly harmonies create a kitsche, 80s-pop vibe. Chiming synthesisers are an unexpected bonus, and an almost hypnotic addition to the track, contrasting beautifully against the warm electric guitar.

Crack Bang Bang doesn’t waste any time getting down to business, fitting a classical lyrical structure to the easy swing of the guitar rhythm. The song fits a classic, failsafe formula of gorgeous blues chords, a repetitive lyrical structure, and mellow, mournful vocals. High-pitched Beach Boys-style vocal fillers make a clever final addition to a full, rich piece of music.

“The song fits a classic, failsafe formula of gorgeous blues chords, a repetitive lyrical structure, and mellow, mournful vocals.”

Gutsy alt-rock ballad I’m In Love is the unsung hero of ‘Panacea’. Beck’s sultry vocal slides and discerningly emphatic vocal performance add a layer of theatrical authenticity to the lyrics. She mixes balladic elements with sassy country ‘n’ western style, and all in perfect pitch – her falsetto register is beautiful in contrast to the full belt in the chorus, and by that point she will have you hanging on every word.

If you’re after something a little different, Everyone Wants Noise will be like a mini-break for your ears. The melody has the essence of a lullaby – anticlimactic piano chords and a sense of innocence about the lyrics build a delicate outer shell around a surprisingly gutsy inside.

Beck’s vocal power and control come to the fore in Sarah. The song kicks off with three deep, lazy drum beats and she launches straight into her trademark pitch-bending drawl. Sahara Beck manipulates the warmth in her voice with striking precision, using a combination of soft notes and climactic, sweeping slides to establish herself as both an innocent and a seductress.

Last month, Beck nabbed the Folk Singer/Songwriter Award at the Queensland Music Awards for Mother Mother, and it’s not hard to see why. Amidst the acapella lines, there’s nowhere to hide on this power ballad. The passion and purity of Beck’s high notes, the cleverness of her lyrics, the irresistible chord progression, and dreamy pitch-bending guitar melodies keep things interesting from start to finish – if you love the vocal strength and irresistible melody in the first chorus, just wait until you hear the final reprise.           

“Sahara Beck manipulates the warmth in her voice with striking precision…”

Every good album needs a token song about unrequited love, and Beck has delivered in spades with Don’t Hold Your Breath. Keeping her vocals soft and breathy, she relays her instantly relatable lyrics over a heartbreakingly sweet guitar melody, “And I hoped that you’d be mine/But you’re not and I’m not surprised.”  Once again, deep ruminating electric guitar kicks in after the second verse, bringing back that familiar western feeling like Beck’s signature on the track.

Sahara Beck has a knack for keeping things short and sweet with just the right amount of production, and ‘Panacea’ is no exception. This talented songstress has only just begun to make her mark, and if her streak continues we’ll be expecting a country and western comeBeck in a big way.

Sahara Beck’s new album ‘Panacea’ is set for release Friday 22 April – check out her upcoming tour dates HERE.

Album Rating: 4

Sahara Beck is appearing at AAA Backstage’s 5th B’day Party at The Foundry alongside The Jensens, Ayla, Lastlings, Machine Age + many others!

AAA Backstage’s 5th Birthday Party
The Foundry, Brisbane
Bands Start 7pm
Get Tickets HERE
  Invite friends to the Facebook Event HERE

Sahara Beck Panacea Cover art

Written by Jess Martyn