Sandi Thom – The Pink & the Lily
The Pink and the Lily (2010 release)
Sony BMG LC 00316
Young Scottish Lass throws down the gauntlet to the more established Americana Stars.
From the opening chorus of ‘The Devil’s Beat‘ you just know that this is going to be a special record. Sandi lulls you into a false sense of security by hiding her anti-war and capitalism song in a very catchy pop tune. Before you know where you are, you’re singing along to ‘Well the Devil’s rolling a 6-sided dice/And it’s burning up the oils and melting the ice’ and mentally punching the air at the same time.
Song numero two; ‘Shape I’m in’ is the obligatory ode to life on the road and missing the love of her life who’s still at home. It’s catchy but surely we’ve heard it all before? At least it will make Sandi and her new husband happy.
Ooh I like ‘Wounded Hearts‘ a whole lot. Now this is a song that Lucinda or Mary Chapin-Carpenter would be proud of. Young Sandi’s voice wobbles and wavers, pouring her heart out to her new lover as she tries to break up with an old flame. It fair brought a tear to my eye.
Then it’s time for the hit single and it deserves to be a hit – ‘Saturday Night’. Sandi Thom can certainly paint pictures with words as she tells the tale of a young couple barely making ends meet in their dead end jobs and all they have to look forward to is ‘Saturday Night’ (boy do I remember those days!).
‘Beatbox’ and ‘Remote Control Me’ both sound great and I’m sure would have had the Festival crowds hollering along with every line, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty the lyrics are a bit twee ‘It captivates my soul/That your heart is just a Beatbox/For the song of your life’. Maybe I’m just getting old.
‘Success’s Ladder‘ might be considered twee too, but it struck a chord with me as it’s about an office worker who wants to give up his tedious office job because ‘he’s going down down down Success’s Ladder’ and paint pictures of the Isle of Skye. (Sigh; we’ve all had days like that).
‘Mirrors‘ is a great song but Sandi Thom is too young to sing it! It’s a beautiful and wistful opus about lost love and broken dreams that should be sung by someone with some gravitas in their voice who’s actually looking back on their life and the missed opportunities. Sooner or later you’ll hear one of our elder statesladies singing this on the radio or at the CMA Awards – it really is that good.
Sandi is quickly back to what young people do best with ‘Music in my soul‘ as it’s about sitting in a bar on a Sunday afternoon drinking cider, falling in and out of love and listening to the Eagles and the Bee Gees on the jukebox.
Even now after listening to the title track ‘THE PINK AND THE LILY’ several times; I’m worried that it’s some kind of euphemism that I don’t understand! At face value it might actually be the name of the pub that the singer and the love of her life met in. It’s actually a quite charming song that starts with the soft plucking of a mandolin and builds to a crescendo of passionate promises of undying love.
‘I’m a human being’ is another twee song that falls into Nora Jones territory. It’s not a bad song and was played to death for a couple of weeks on Radio 2; but do I need to hear that six and a half billion souls all ‘have dreams and lives and songs and…human beings’.
Sandi paints a delightful picture of her local cinema in ‘The Last Picture House’ and actually treats it like a close friend and mourns i’s passing while name checking the colourful stars that have graced its big screen over the years. As I sat listening to it, my own mind wandered back to the many happy nights I spent in the Essoldo in Stanley. Where will it take you back to?
Last but very much not least is ‘My Ungrateful Heart‘ another song about lost love and the long drawn out end of a romance. It’s absolutely stunning and, if Ronan Keating is looking for another number one, this is it; trust me. AH