Label: Kirtland Records Release date: 18/05/10 Link: Official Website From the off, Suburban Nature is an album of immense beauty and strength. It is hard to believe that this is Denton based Sarah Jaffe’s very first full length album. The maturity and cohesiveness of it creates a polished and enjoyable set of songs. It is orchestrated brilliantly; the strings accompany Jaffe’s voice, full of quiet strength, perfectly. The album opens with ‘Before You Go’, immediately highlighting the talent Jaffe has for cleverly written songs and delivering them with heart-stricken emotion. When you are faced with such a good opening track, it is obvious that an album can go one of two ways; it can either carry on, developing into something even better or it can flounder, struggle around under the weight of expectation and drown. Thankfully,Suburban Nature does the former. ‘Clementine’ is incessantly catchy, Jaffe’s vocals sounding sugary sweet over the staccato strings and guitar. “I wish I was a little more delicate,” she sings with such beauty, it is almost heartbreaking. ‘Better Than Nothing’ is another album highlight, beginning softly with just Jaffe’s vocals and gently strummed guitar resting underneath. It gradually builds up with smooth strings being added to the mix before developing into a driving chorus, her vocals sounding powerful and striking. One thing that is prominent throughout Suburban Nature is the outstanding quality of the songwriting. The lyrics are poignant and the somewhat sparse instrumentation is enchanting, especially on ‘Pretender’. Jaffe uses her dextrous voice to her advantage; at times it is quiet and breaking, doused in sentiment, but quickly shifts into powerful vocals, laden with passion. ‘Swelling’ is achingly beautiful, and despite being just over four minutes long, it seems too short. “All I want to do now is lay down and die.” Jaffe knows how to write lyrics to complement her captivating music. It is hard to find something negative to say about Suburban Nature. Each song is deservedly on the record; there is never a time where it could be said Suburban Nature would benefit from being a couple of tracks shorter. It plays out like a soundtrack of longing and heartbreak, each track is masterfully placed and the album manages to enchant from start to finish. Suburban Nature, if all is fair and good in the world, should plant Sarah Jaffe firmly on the map. It is what this album and indeed Jaffe herself deserve. Photobucket