Sasami Ashworth, better known as simply SASAMI, seems to beam songs in from another, simpler world. This isn’t to call her songs, often aching examinations of bruised feelings, simple. Not in the slightest, but the world telegraphed from her self-titled debut simply feels a bit better than our own.

In SASAMI’s world, those very feelings carry weight, cannot be brushed to the side. In our current mess, unguarded emotions can almost feel quaint, with sleek pop offering a sieve for even the most musically selective in recent years. SASAMI perhaps may have been most at home in the indie climate of the decade just past, and it's a testament to her sheer power of will (and voice) that the album is causing a splash in 2019.

Having warmed up for her own ventures touring and playing with Cherry Glazerr, Sasami arrived a readymade indie darling, but doesn’t show too much fascination with the title. Her focus remains first and foremost, indeed, her songs.

It shows on SASAMI. A lovingly made album, somehow at once sad and warm, its frigid cover art belies an inviting blanket of sympathetic, attentive songcraft. Her past as an elementary teacher (music, naturally) is unsurprising once you spend any amount of time in the miniature worlds developed here: you can’t shake the impression that these songs are more for her audience than herself.

Sasami’s comfortable sharing her space with guests, yet never quite cedes her role as the gravitational force at the center of her debut offering. The likes of Devendra Banhart are satisfied to offer backing vocals, tastefully selected to offer gentle hues to tracks, rather than any overplayed, grandiose feature.

In fact, this speaks to the album overall rather well. In its undemanding, drifting way, SASAMI is sure to conjure up memories of quiet moments, akin to a child scrambling into the attic to be alone and stare at the ceiling. It may soar a bit in places, such as on ‘Jealousy’, but Sasami isn’t one for flashy flourishes or show-stopping moments. She doesn’t need them. Confident in her words to speak as loudly as she needs them to, SASAMI proves a great driving record, a calming, uninsistent companion in whatever your day’s toils (or perhaps suffering) may be. It’s sure to make it all seem a bit more doable.

Much of the appraisal for SASAMI thus far focuses on the record’s sadness, and while I’d never claim the album to be without its share of the blues, it wouldn’t be the first word this writer would reach for to describe it, nor the feeling it gives. If sorrow can somehow be made pleasant, Sasami is the one to do it, as in its 40 minutes, the music found here never grows troubling, nor feel overly troubled. If anything, paradoxical as it may be, Sasami is a listener, and we’re lucky to have her debut here to stay with us, for the rest of our days, just when we might need one. SASAMI feels like a warm friend you haven’t seen in years, ready to reflect on life: how you’d hoped it’d be, and how it is. It doesn’t feel so bad when you’re together.