Artist: Sarah Jarosz
Label: Sugar Hill Records
Release Date: 06/17/2016
As mellow as floating down a lazy river, Undercurrent carries the listener on a subdued yet poignant journey through a wounded and passionate landscape of the soul.
Much like the album’s title, there is an undercurrent throughout the entire record, but it is one of melancholia that stems from a variety of sources and inspirations. It flows far closer to the surface in somber songs like “Lost Dog” and “Back of My Mind,” but it slips deeper in the more upbeat numbers, like “Comin’ Undone” and “Take Me Back,” even if it isn’t as apparent. However, it’s this melancholic shroud that gives the record such a relatable and magnetic quality, much like Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
Sarah Jarosz’s vocals here are delicate and wispy like smoke from an extinguished match and smooth as merlot. This vocal quality helps let her haunting and poetic lyrics about love and seclusion come to like and tug your heartstrings right out of your chest.
These honest and vivid lyrics paired with the sympathetic and lonesome folk-rock and bluegrass instrumentation make Undercurrent draw the listener in for a reflective yet comforting experience. For instance, “Jacqueline,” features only Jarosz’s gorgeous voice and a reserved, far-off sounding electric guitar picking, making the track sound like the musical equivalent of someone staring into a sunset while trying to come to terms with a major life change.
For a new moving musical experience, Jarosz’s latest offering will certainly be the record to turn to.
– Keith Hadad