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Brave Tin Soldiers EP - Single

Sarah Nixey

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Album Review

Self-proclaimed ice maiden Sarah Nixey may possess the kind of crisp, English RP accent that makes Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sarah Cracknell sound like unintelligible loudmouths, but as anyone familiar with her work with Black Box Recorder will know, voices can be deceptive. While her detached headmistress tones may conjure up images of boarding school assemblies and social etiquette lessons, her second solo album, Brave Tin Soldiers, deals with subjects so macabre that even Nick Cave would turn them down for being too bleak. "Gathering Shadows," a gentle slice of melancholic pop with occasional bursts of hymnal choral vocals, is a heartbreaking murder ballad about a gun-toting father, the shuffling gothic folk of "Black Rose" recounts the tale of Betty Corrigall, the ostracized, unmarried 16th century woman who killed herself after becoming pregnant, while the Motown-tinged Baroque pop of "Silent Hour" addresses the 2010's spate of teen suicides in Bridgend. Although the album's lyrics may not make for easy listening, Nixey's softly whispered voice and her organic self-production, which eschews the electronica of her debut Sing, Memory, provide an enchanting contrast which ensures that the haunting stories are a little easier to swallow. "Love Gets Dangerous," the sole nod to her indie-disco past, is a curious fusion of Morricone-inspired Spaghetti Western guitars and pounding house beats, the title track is a radio-friendly piece of retro lounge-pop which shows that Nixey's fascination with the darker side of life hasn't prevented her from producing an infectious melody or two, while the stunning closer, "Frost at Midnight," opens with three minutes of understated, mournful acoustics before ending in a prog rock-inspired flurry of sweeping strings, crashing percussion, and gorgeous, dream-like chanting. Considering its story-telling nature, it's only fitting that Brave Tin Soldiers should sound so cinematic, and indeed, its orchestral atmospherics would make the perfect soundtrack for the next David Lynch mindbender. Despite its unsettling themes, Nixey's sophomore album is still a warm and charming record which reinstates her position as Britain's most elegant chanteuse. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Biography

Born: England

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Arch, elegant British pop singer and songwriter Sarah Nixey is best known as the icy-voiced chanteuse of Black Box Recorder, a trio whose combination of melodic sweetness, bleakly cynical social commentary, and electronic pop eclecticism brought them a cult audience and some amount of (British) chart success around the turn of the millennium. Nixey was singing in the folk band Balloon when her bandmates Luke Haines (formerly of the Auteurs) and John Moore (formerly of the Jesus and Mary Chain) proposed...
Full Bio
Brave Tin Soldiers EP - Single, Sarah Nixey
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