Sarah Slean Night Bugs

Toronto songstress Sarah Slean has all of the right tools to follow in the footsteps of Tori Amos, Rufus Wainwright and Fiona Apple (if she still had a career). Produced by Slean herself and the eccentric Hawksley Workman, Night Bugs is a dazzling assortment of orchestral pop music, complete with horns, string sections and bits of abnormality placed here and there. While there are many elements to gawk at, luckily Slean’s voice is strong enough to make it a powerful focal point. Not as weird as Kate Bush, but up there, Slean shoots for an obscure drama found in the lungs of somebody like Thom Yorke, but with more beauty instead of pain. The instrumentation is nearly as compelling, showing an ability to jump from a playful vibe ("Sweet Ones”) to a sad tragic one ("St. Francis”) to something more dark and sinister ("Me, I’m A Thief”). She’s got a lot of great ideas, and as long as she sticks to this formula, Sarah Slean should have a promising career ahead of her. (Atlantic)