The San Franciscan with the Betty Boop-on-helium voice (think Mary Lou Lord-meets-Alison Shaw from Cranes with a Cyndi Lauper chaser) returns with her sophomore effort of autobiographical angst, all recorded in a minimalist setting of just Sarah and her acoustic guitar. That lends a warmth to the tunes that feels like Sarah is sitting right in front of you. It also imbues the tracks with a naked emotion – there’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide from the listener’s inquisitive stare, ears pricked and balancing on every turn of phrase. The lyrics offer frequent images of death, with numerous appearances by the reaper (“Judgment Day,” “The Reaper,” “Brand of Bitterness”), and petty jealousy sneaks in occasionally (“From My Window High”), but she sings them with such an air of confidence and honesty you’re convinced she’ll survive whatever curves life tosses at her.
“Brand of Bitterness” is a nice jazzy change of pace, as Sarah becomes a one-woman band, adding rolling bass and shuffling drums to the mix. I can hear Tom Waits doing wonders with this one. There’s a giggly, Melanie-ish charm to “Paper Lantern,” a funky blues swagger to “Motown,” and a spirited cover of “Sally Go ‘Round The Roses” that end the experience on a high note. Another winner from the fine folks at indie fave, Silber! 8/10 -- Jeff Penczak (31 March, 2010)