Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sylvie Lewis - It's All True (2012)


While some of this year's albums have been released with much fanfare, intense marketing campaigns, and occasionally a ton of hype, singer/songwriter Sylvie Lewis' third full length album It's All True was released pretty much under cover of darkness and a simple helpful Facebook status reminder stating that you could now buy it. Since my discovery of Lewis as a result of her opening act slot for Sondre Lerche years ago (and featured slot on Heartbeat Radio as co-songwriter on "Words and Music"), I've been waiting for any sign of a new release from Sylvie Lewis. It wasn't until an almost completely unadvertised South by Southwest appearance that fans had any clue she was working on anything album related at all.

You see, Sylvie Lewis is a busy woman having recently moved to Rome working with an opera company. But somehow in the hustle and bustle of life as a newly-inducted Italian woman, Lewis had time to jetset a bit and that's where the album came to fruition (through the aid of Portland-based producer Richard Swift). On It's All True, Lewis clings more tightly to her singer/songwriter roots than the pseudo-cabaret style that heavily peppered Tangos and Tantrums and was less featured on Translations. Her narrative language is much more subdued but no less arresting as her songs seem much less like characters like on previous albums and instead more personal. Personal but not confessional or all that revealing. It's All True isn't Lewis' musical equivalent of therapy; rather her songs are lightly affected by her own personal experiences like her time in Rome which comes out in tracks like the sweet Italian sprawl of  "Gocce" and "Streets of Rome". Her album also features some pretty spectacular unassuming musical moments like on "The Fish and the Bird" where Lewis' vocals skips pleasantly like a thrown rock on a lake.

Sondre Lerche even appears to return the favor of Lewis' guesting on his record with an equally as underplayed stint on "Streets of Rome" on guitar. In fact, you might notice how strangely similar it sounds to "Coliseum Town" from Sondre Lerche's self-titled album released last year. That's no coincidence, on "Streets of Rome", Lewis pairs her own words with the instrumentals of "Coliseum Town" only borrowing Lerche's "dream inside a dream" lyric.

Sylvie Lewis' It's All True is a pretty good addition to her growing catalog. It may be shorter than her previous albums but each song is an absolute pleasure. Lewis' cabaret storytelling style returns, albeit briefly, on "Ballad of Honeymouth" and her style manages to elude both your standard pop and singer/songwriter classifications. Lewis' poetic wit is still around though maybe not as effusive like on "All His Exes" or "If I Don't Come Easy" but that's okay. Because of it's lack of hype, Lewis' latest album is sure to be overlooked. That much is certain. However for those that stumble upon it, It's All True is bound to be a continuously revisited favorite. It's short, sweet, and rest purely on its own merits - the way all good music should.

You can listen to Sylvie Lewis' It's All True on Spotify as well as purchase it from all your normal music retailers.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review - she's a gem; phenomenal talent and totally underrated.