Sarah Blasko – Depth Of Field
You could argue that Sarah Blasko is writing the best pop songs of her career right now. Her 2015 album Eternal Return was a wondrous slice of synthpop that gave some levity to her catalogue, while her fifth album, Depth Of Field, is a significantly darker but no less immediately engaging collection of songs.
Blasko says Depth Of Field, is an examination of “the darkness of monogamous relationships”. An examination of the things that often happen behind closed doors, the infidelities, the weakening of bonds and the other messy stuff that doesn’t make it to Instagram.
She’ delivers on that promise as well. Darkness certain abounds through the record and the portrayals of various complex, often fairly vague relationship issues are unbelievably intimate.
The first two singles – ‘Phantom’ and ‘A Shot’, which open the record – both have hooks that will burrow into your brain. But both also see Blasko offering unique and intriguing perspectives on love.
The former tells of the feeling of closeness that abounds even when a loved one isn’t physically present, while the latter is striking in its bluntness.
‘I was naive to put my trust in you, when I guess I always knew, from what I’d observed, you’d one day cut me loose’ she sings, in one of the most measured but painful portrayals of hurt you’ll hear.
Depth Of Field is new proof that Blasko is still pushing into new and exciting creative corners.
‘Everybody Wants To Sin’ feels as evil as its title suggests. Based around a simple synth bass and drumbeat, Blasko sounds ten feet tall as she coaxes someone to reveal the dark secret they’re hiding.
In the equally ominous ‘Making It Up’, Blasko incants ‘I lie, you better fear it’ over and over through the chorus. It’s creepy and depressing and serves to make lines like ‘I know I never revealed to you that I’m not yours alone, because there are women apart from you when I’m gone’ sting even more.
Blasko’s production is equally as impressive as her writing and her voice on Depth Of Field. The arrangements are generally sparse with minimal instrumentation, but the combination of space and droning, atmospheric synths make it feel both intimate and grandiose in a very modern way. Lorde’s Pure Heroine album has a comparable sound and feel.
Fourteen years on from her debut solo album, you wouldn’t accuse Blasko and her music of maturing. To be fair, her sound has always been very adult, so there’s not a whole lot further she can go without a complete descent into MOR balladry. But the Sarah Blasko of the past few years has been more playful and more experimental than ever.
Sarah Blasko is just as interesting an artist in 2018 as she ever has been. Trends change and often artists don’t, which means they can stagnate and end up delivering less interesting facsimiles of their earlier work. Depth Of Field is new proof that Blasko is still pushing into new and exciting creative corners.