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Sarah Harmer | You Were Here (Zoe)
The secret is out. Having fronted Weeping Tile, a band described by their website as "Canada's best kept secret", Sarah is ensuring that epithet doesn't travel with her. There's no great direction change from the old band days, but just more room for her voice to stand out. And what a voice. From the jaunty Around This Corner where it skips along effortlessly you might not be that struck, but she's just luring you in. The laugh on the re-worked WT oldie, Basement Apt. tickles your ears and she soon makes you wonder how someone could make such a hovel sound so romantic. If she hasn't drawn you in with The Hideout, then Capsized will do it. The instruments are barely audible as her voice's fragility and clarity hold you rapt, crushing you with the line "there's a hurt, a sadness there, maybe I'd tell you all about it, if I thought you'd care". Now she has you, just in time for Lodestar and it's lazy, moonlit, opening until the cello ups the pace and swims around her taking the trumpet with it as "the darkness rings". It's not just her voice, her words cut straight to the heart too, keeping it simple and true. Even the rock styled Weakened State hits hard as she tells "I asked for the truth everytime and now ugly details are stuck in my mind". OK, maybe Open Window is a bit too sweet, though it is meant to be a wedding song, but a few songs later she's proclaiming that "I guess we're all just out on loan and everybody is only their own", let's just hope she doesn't get those two confused if she has to sing at any happy events. In fact, most of the songs are sad, words of loss, yearning and loneliness pour out, "I could lie to myself and say I like it, but I'd love it if you were here" she cries on the title track, breaking every heart as she does so. There are no frills with this record, but she doesn't need them. She can write and sing better than most, having the ability to hit the right spot with her voice and pen. Make a wish, You Were Here will fulfil it in someway, if not, blame Canada.
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002