Sarah Borrello is a singer-songwriter, a piano player, a guitar player, and a fierce personality and force to be reckoned with on stage. She’s not just a pretty face and a nice voice (like a lot of crap out there these days), but an accomplished songwriter, a legitimate musician, and a KILLER voice. And with playing out all over the North East, performances opening for Amanda Palmer, and this new record…the girl is kind of a big deal. The new record is titled “Exit” and I was lucky enough to get a first listen (or 20) before the official release on June 22 at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Boston…
Holy fu….Sarah Borrello blows me the hell away right out of the barrel. It’s gritty, bluesy, dirty and sexy as hell (2nd time I have felt the need to use the word sexy in the blog, and probably not the last time in this review). Some of her sound has that “sullied, grungy, just can’t turn away” Fiona Apple feel to it, other tunes envoke that straight rock n’ blues sound of Janis Jopin. No matter what the comparison that you draw from it one thing is for sure: it’s raw, it’s unfiltered and spits emotion right in your face and leaves you begging for some more. All I can say is that this gal is a bad ass and a great songwriter, and I am not quite sure if I should be turned on or scared that she may beat the crap out of me.
Driven by overdriven guitar tones and hard driving vocals (point is, it drives...hard), the majority of the record is pretty rocking. The three first tunes on the record really strike me hard. "Stranglehold" is a ballsy (I can use that to describe a female musician’s music, right?) track with a genuine vocal singing strong and sincere right at you. You can feel the energy and conviction in this song. Great, great stuff in “Gimme, Gimme” with that opening line “oh, mama / the devils back at my door”…ok, you have my attention Ms. Borrello. The influence of 60s rock, soul and hard blues is pretty evident throughout the entire project. But, Borrello shows her musical diversity in the drug induced trance-like “Chemical Burn” and the rollercoaster up and downs of “That Man”. And then there’s pianos…yup, pianos. The track “Bed of Nails” is a little more Tori Amos than Joan Jett, but it still rocks in its own right and puts Sarah’s varied talents for the art in full view. Every record needs its ballad and “Bed of Nails” fits the bill rather perfectly.
I get nervous each and every time that Sarah goes for one of “those notes”…a singer of a different caliber couldn’t pull it off, but she is flawless each and every time, nailing the note and giving it her signature voicing. There is a deep growl to some of her annunciations (again, it's sexy) and she sings with a soul and feeling that make you truly listen to what the girl has to say.
The record ends with a percussion and vocal driven track ala the swampy delta and has a nice little outtake track of Sarah saying “he drooled on himself”. Guess she has a lighter, joking side as well and for that I am thankful.
All in all, a real solid and rockin’ collection of tunes here and a musician that the world should be paying very close attention to in the upcoming year.
Check out Sarah’s CD release for “Exit” THIS Saturday (June 22) at the Hard Rock Café in Boston (in Faneuil Hall) and online for info, buying the new CD and show dates at: