Review of Lisa Hannigan's album 'Sea Sew' released through Hoop Recordings on 27/04/2009.
Lisa Hannigan's haunting vocals will no doubt be familiar to most. She is well known for her six-year collaboration with Damien Rice and some say was instrumental to the success of his alum 'O'. Now a well respected solo artist, her debut album Sea Sew was released last year in her native Ireland and in the USA. The lead single from the album, Lille was a huge success and was followed by Hannigan supporting Jason Mraz on his mammoth US tour later in the year, gaining her valuable exposure.
Sea Sew opens with Ocean and a rock, setting the scene for the album it is one of the strongest tracks. It's a beautiful combination of lush strings, light drums and the ethereal vocals are enhanced by some brilliantly metaphor laden, emotional lyrics. Venn Diagram and Sea Song are again mesmerising and introduce us to the wordless breathy chorus that will become familiar feature throughout the album. Unfortunately Splishy Splashy lives up to the silly title and only serves the purpose to highlight that Hannigan is at her best on the more melancholy, emotional tracks. Keep It All, with its hypnotic light drum beat and perfectly hit high notes has this darker tinge to it, as does the track immediately after it, the melancholy Courting Blues; these tracks suit her vocals perfectly.
Sea Sew is a cleverly constructed folk album. Hannigan's accomplished band provide the strings, percussion, glockenspiel and even trumpets; all of which are beautifully layered producing a light haunting sound. On occasion the combination of sugary sweet melodies and silly lyrics may let her down but these become a distant memory when you hear her other-worldly vocals on the darker, emotionally laden tracks of the album; it's these that make it worth the purchase.