I’ve never really been a fan of Sandi Thom; of course I went through the stage where I sang ‘I wish I was a punk rocker…’ for the best part of a year and won’t deny I’ve cried to ‘Lonely Girl’, but other than that I’ve struggled to warm to the Scottish singer.
Listening to her new album, Merchants And Thieves was somewhat of a challenge and an eye opener Surprisingly I found I enjoyed most of the songs and could listen to the album with ease. The song that grabbed me the most is Maggie McCall and I must have listened to it a dozen times or more on repeat. It’s fair to say however, that all of the songs have a coffee shop feel to them – by which I mean it’s the kind of album you’d find in a quaint bookstore filled with indie music lovers and people who’ve been hit with post festival depression. It’s the kind of album that you can leave on and somewhere amongst the tracks you’ll come across a song that fits you and your mood.
The track Let it stay has a strong ballad feel to it that is cleverly disguised by heavy piano rifts and soulful tones. The same goes for Ghost Town which is the only slow, acoustic track on the album. I’ll admit it is well put together and it’s a cappella vibe suits it well. However, it does sounds very choir like and I feel like it should have been placed higher up the track list, perhaps after Let It Stay so that the ballad type songs coincide. The same goes for Belly Of The Blues which sounds more like a slow country number and not something you’d expect from the former Punk Rocker songstress.
This Ol’ World (Featuring Joe Bonamassa) is akin to Belly Of The Blues, sounding like it belongs on a country and western album. It has potential as a song, (even if it is based around a guitar solo), but it seems out of keeping with the rest of the album, even with the remix of the song bringing the album to its end. Whilst avid Sandi fans might class it as her best to date, if, like me you’ve never really warmed towards the singer and her earthy tones this album might be something of a challenge, Nevertheless the album has potential with Let It Stay and Maggie McCall, with their impressive lyrics and harmonies being the stand out tracks.