Published Sep 18, 2019Molly Sarlé demands attention.
Since reuniting with Mountain Man for their sophomore record Magic Ship, alongside Alexandra Sauser-Monnig (Daughter of Swords) and Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Sarlé has been brewing Karaoke Angel, her debut solo record — and one that she took nearly four years to complete.
Much like the captivating work she produces with Mountain Man, on Karaoke Angel, Sarlé is able to fill a room with just her voice. Foregoing the a cappella tendencies of her earlier projects, here she opts for the inclusion of minimalistic instrumentation and understated backup vocals. Centre stage is, of course, Sarlé's stunning voice, and it beats the soul raw while simultaneously supplicating an empathetic ear. There is no turning away from this record.
Much like contemplating the unimaginable depths of the sea or beholding the vastness of an unclouded sky, listening to Karaoke Angel gives listeners the distinct ability to erase their selfhood, to ease you into a sense of oneness that you're oblivious to until it's over.
"Human," "Karaoke Angel" and "Almost Free" are the album's hardest hitting tracks, covering a range of human emotion: pain, sadness, ecstasy, longing, glee and defeat are portrayed through moments of self-reflection. "Faith For Doubt" offers advice from Sarlé's paternal grandmother whom she never met, "Suddenly" bookends the record with a tale about a regrettable session of fellatio, and album closer "Passenger Side" is a perfect portrayal of the healing nature of a long country drive with a lover. An exploration of the fleeting nature of car travel, and of relationships, it's the perfect song to usher you back into reality.
Karaoke Angel is a beautiful surprise from Sarlé, whose career as a solo artist has only just begun. (Partisan)