Multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Sarah Mary Chadwick is not a new face to Melbourne's music community. After moving to Australia from her native New Zealand to pursue a career in music, Sarah spent a decade fronting the grunge band Batrider. Eventually becoming tired of the collaborative requirements intrinsic to band life, Sarah shifted her focus to songwriting independently, drawing inspiration from “weird old New Zealand musicians” like Peter Jefferies, Chris Knox, and Australia’s Pip Proud and the way they tinker away and work for decades for “little to no commercial success.” This inspiration is obvious in Sarah’s performance as she simultaneously savors and mocks the pedestal that her creativity affords her, acknowledging that “it's a position of power being on a microphone” and how “it's a desperate demand to be seen. It's funny and really sad.”
To listen to Sarah’s music is to be a quiet observer to her thoughts on love, death and mental health. Sometimes this anguish bears itself in sullen, quiet moments, but more often torment manifests at the break of Sarah’s voice as she sing-shouts painfully vulnerable, self-aware lyrics. This is all front and center on Chadwick’s newest Sugar Still Melts In The Rain. From the album's moody (though by SMC standards, uplifting) first track 'Flow Over Me' to its larger moments where Sarah cries 'raise your glass to my health and to everyone going away' in the title track, the album is undeniably committed to the uncomplicated, relying solely on piano, keys, bass and percussion.
Learning that Sarah’s songwriting is thoroughly autobiographical is perhaps more unnerving than her artistic process of watching sexually charged movies to inspire her pornographic art. She drinks, she watches porn, she draws and she writes. When the blur of the evening fades, what remains is a colorful orgy on the page and Sarah’s recollections immortalized in ‘Wind Wool’, “oh no I’m losing memory, did we just piss away time? And does it matter anyway, I’ll die, you died, we die…”. To Sarah Mary Chadwick, all tragedy is comedy.
Sugar Still Melts In The Rain marks her first release for her new label Sinderlyn (home to Homeshake, Jaye Bartell and Tim Cohen). Having already released three solo records on Bedroom Suck, Siltbreeze and Rice Is Nice, this album is her 4th solo work. It was recorded and mixed by friend, musician and filmmaker Geoffrey O'Connor in Vanity Lair and Phaedra Studios in Melbourne. The album came together so quickly partly as a result of the duo's commitment to efficiency and partly due to Sarah's lack of attachment to the idea of “the perfect vocal take.” She knows she isn't a virtuoso; tongue firmly in check, she is quick to reference those limitations mockingly. Yet, it's within those boundaries that she thrives, disinterested in the perfect take in lieu of her best take – unique, somber and raw.
released May 11, 2018
All music by Sarah Mary Chadwick
Drums by Tim Deane-Freeman, Bass by Geoffrey O'Connor
Recorded at Phaedra Studios / Vanity Lair 2017
Engineered by Geoffrey O'Connor and Evenlyn Morris
Mixed by Geoffrey O'Connor
Produced by Sarah Mary Chadwick and Geoffrey O'Connor
Mastered by David Walker at Stepford Audio
All songs Copyright Sarah Mary Chadwick 2018
Art and design by Sarah Mary Chadwick
Layout by Patrick Fernandes
supported by 11 fans who also own “Sugar Still Melts In The Rain (USA)”
Raw and powerful and...really, really catchy. I was first hooked by the title track (to the point where I kept playing it just to hear it again and finally bought the album), but later found myself humming Just Came to Pray and now I'm really into Confetti. I have no idea which song will get lodged in my head next. This is really primordial stuff and sometimes it's all I want to hear. Highest recommendation. Dave Gauer
supported by 10 fans who also own “Sugar Still Melts In The Rain (USA)”
It's just so easy for Martin Phillips, innit? Even after more than 30 years, he's writing the kind of effortless melodies that most songwriters would kill for. So this is just another perfect pop record to add to their discography. This will easily be a top 10 of the year.