Brooke Sharkey - A Taste Of Truth
Owain Paciuszko 31/08/2010
On opening track If We Were Water 22 year old Sharkey sings in both French and English, the instrumentation taking on a similarly eclectic flavour, starting with simple acoustic guitar before throwing in a pick and mix of percussion. Her voice is soft and sweet in a pop-soul mold and occasionally stretches beyond her relative youth, sounding a little matured, especially on the distinctly Parisian flavoured Home. Laced with the gentle murmur of accordian and Sharkey keening with a jazzy air, it's a far better track than the rather cliche opener.
She flicks elegantly between English and French, sounding like a schizo-lingual Lily Allen on the beguiling and wonky waltz of Our Ways. This track is buoyed by a lively garnish of experimentalism and Sharkey pushing her voice off in strange directions, whilst the instrumentation bubbles and burps over a stop-start Balkan-esque beat. If she kept this up across the full length of a record she could become a mix of Eva Cassidy and Beirut, and push past the albatross of youthful-singer-songwriter as a result.
Alas the rather insipid if emotionally delivered quiver of Music in the Park feels like a bit of a step backwards. Sure it's a nice little Country-tinged ballad, but a tad cut-n-paste when compared to some of the inventiveness displayed elsewhere in both Sharkey's voice and the arrangments around it. Closing track Les Amoureux begins as a straight-forward acoustic number, just Sharkey's voice and a guitar, performing throwing in some string to emphasise the bittersweet romanticism of the track which seems to describe the initial flirtation between two people. Apt in that this EP as a whole seems to be a tentative flirtation between Sharkey and the listener, she teases the ear with what she's capable of before coyly backing of and being a touch generic.
Sharkey shows, on occasion, some real skill and imagination here, her voice is consistently impressive, but she needs to bring more punch to her lyrics and then ally them to the quirky and memorable instrumentation that crops up intermittently on this record.