Sarah Slean's the kind of artist you wished you discovered in high school. Her slightly jazzy, but kinda folky pop music and lyrics of angst would have been just the perfect soundtrack for awkward adolescence.
With her new album, Day One, Slean slips from soft and sultry to a gravelly loud that is pleasingly abrasive--she has the type of voice that would be amazing to listen to live. Still, some of the opening songs on the CD may be uninspiring pop, ready-made for mainstream radio, but the gems throughout the latter half make Day One a worthwhile album.
The use of violin and cello on selected tracks are a nice change from the all too familiar trio of piano, drum set, and guitar. But it's her voice that strikes a chord, demanding attention of anybody who chances upon it. On the track "Your Wish is My Wish", with only a piano for accompaniment, Slean is stripped bare with only her startling voice cutting through the minimalist arrangement.
While there is nothing groundbreaking about Day One, Sarah Slean is undeniably talented. Her voice is able to transcend the few bland tracks on the album. One day, when she's through with playing safe, she'll fulfil the promise apparent on the album.