Karen Kosowski Out Here at Sea

Fans of the Sarahs — Harmer, McLachlan, and Slean — should immediately acquaint themselves with Karen Kosowski. Piano-based singer-songwriter pop that is well written, produced and performed with real musical flare; it's not hard to imagine Kosowski winning accolades from LCBO catalogues and 30-something couples who "like to check out new music." If this sounds negative, it's not meant to be — Kosowski's talent is apparent, and her songs, though without much grit, are beautiful, melodic, and confidently performed. She clearly has the make of a serious musician — her ballads are complex enough to merit her legitimacy as a songwriter, and simple enough to avoid ostentation or gimmick. She has her formulas down, and weighed against genre conventions, her pieces are a cut above. For what it is, it's inventive — the songs contain genuine emotion and her hooks are solid while still being slightly unconventional. Her voice is confident, expressive and complimentary to her brand of songcraft — she has a niche, and deserves to be lauded within it. If you enjoy quiet, sophisticated radio pop but think Kate Bush is weird, you should surely adore this. (Wildly Moody)