Style: Sparse yet rich acoustic pop; compare to Sixpence, Over the Rhine, Rickie Lee Jones
Top tracks: "We Won't Run," "Down on Love," "Over and Over"
Just now making its way to the U.S., Blasko's third studio album—produced by Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn And John—has already won awards and critical praise in her native country of Australia and in Europe. The daughter of former Christian missionaries, Blasko grew up singing in churches, including one Sydney congregation that later become Hillsong. In her late teens, Blasko renounced "religion" but not faith: "Like a lot of people who grew up with a Christian upbringing," she says in one interview, "I have an unbalanced view on life. Deep down, there's always this pervading sense that things are either really, really good or really, really bad. That tends to come through in my music." In another interview, Blasko says she feels "lucky to have grown up with some form of spirituality … to have been brought up thinking there is something bigger out there than us. But it is hard to shake a lot of the negative aspects of religion."
Those conflicted spiritual musings haunt her lyrics throughout this album, much of which was composed while she also wrote the score for the Bell Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet (in which Blasko, who studied English lit in college, also performed). On "Down on Love," she sings, "Love it takes a leap of faith / And faith will guide you all your days." In first single "We Won't Run," she sings, "We're casting this devil off, got the mettle and the means to make things right / We won't fear, we can fight all that we can bring to light." In the video for that same song, Blasko is on her knees, eyes closed, singing the bridge over and over, "Oh, that our eyes will be open." For these 12 stellar songs, may our ears be open as well.
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