‘As Day Follows Night’
“As Day Follows Night is a startling work, redrawing the bounaries of Blasko’s music, but is also something of a revelation from an already much-value artist.” - Sydney Morning Herald
“…As Day Follows Night has the kind of depth that reveals itself and rewards with each spin.” - The Music Network
“…great music, evocative lyrics and, most of all, a stunning vocal performance. Here, Blasko has cultivated a most beautiful specimen.” - West Australian
“All 12 songs are exquisite. An album of the year contender.” - Weekend Australian
“The album is a triumph. It is one of those breakthrough records that only when it arrives and you hear the progression in spirit and song do you see the potential that was always there, just waiting for the artist to make the jump. And Blasko has made a leap.” - Robert Forster, The Monthly
“Sarah Blasko’s third solo album is a perfectly pitched affair …intimate yet poppy, delicate yet emotionally full-blooded” “A gentle beauty.” – The Daily Telegraph, UK
“As Day Follows Night arrives without too much fanfare but it deserves plenty.” - Mail On Sunday, UK
THE MUSIC NETWORK – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – ALBUM OF THE WEEK
“With an array of honest, expressive and awe-inspiring tracks, Sarah Blasko’s third album portrays sadness in the most uplifting and beautiful of ways. Minimal and organic arrangements let the Sydney singer’s voice soar. With seven ARIA Award nominations to her name, this is the first time Blasko has penned an entire album and the results are simply stunning.”
MOJO – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – 4 STAR ALBUM REVIEW
“Now relocated to London to launch her career in Europe, Blasko undeniably has the right album to go with. Her voice, pure and understated, is brought to life by the spartan and sensitive production of Bjorn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn And John fame).
Centrepiece of the album is undoubtedly ‘All I Want’, a poetic piece of self-analysis, a lonely melody with a Morricone feel. It sets the reflective and self-critical tone of almost all the songs from the pop of ‘We Won’t Run’ to the jazz-club cool of ‘Bird On A Wire’, cut from the same musical cloth as Fever. There are subtle surprises too: ‘No Turning Back’ stomps along like something out of a Kurt Weill score, while ‘Over And Over’ ends in a neat conceit, with the interpolation of a snippet of Talking Heads’ ‘Road To Nowhere’. In total, it brings to mind Portishead without the beats, or the original, pop-star Bjork.”
- David Buckley – MOJO, UK
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – 4 STAR ALBUM REVIEW
“Australian Sarah Blasko’s third solo album is a perfectly pitched affair, balancing introspection with wry eccentricity to conjure up something intimate yet poppy, delicate yet emotionally full-blooded. Produced in Stockholm by Bjorn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn & John), the understated arrangements are brightened by surprising splashes of musical colour. A gentle beauty.”
- Neil McCormack – THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, UK
MAIL ON SUNDAY – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – 5 STAR ALBUM REVIEW
“Sarah Blasko was voted the female artist of 2009 in Australia and with this, her third album, she gets her first international release. As Day Follows Night’s stylish, slightly jazzy pop, produced by Bjorn Yttling of cool Swedish band Peter, Bjorn And John, is impressive enough to make you wonder what else they’ve got in the Southern Hemisphere that they’re not telling us about.
“Pure elemental songs played on acoustic instruments,” is how Sarah Blasko describes As Day Follows Night. It’s a target many aim at but she hits it dead-centre.
Charisma is all that marks out a compelling singer-songwriter from the many average ones and Blasko has a subtle abundance. She has the kind of voice usually described as bewitching but she can be unaffected too, and is at home at the centre of Yttling’s spacious arrangements, which set bare piano and guitar inside a cavern of percussion and strings.
There’s drama everywhere, particularly in the smoky ‘Bird On A Wire’ and the spaghetti-Western stylings of ‘All I Want’. ‘Down On Love’ brings a music-box quality to a delicate lullaby of a tune that recalls Jeff Buckley’s version of hallelujah; ‘Over & Over’s’ marching drums see it transform gradually into Talking Heads’ ‘Road To Nowhere’.
Tom Waits is the godfather of all such charmed, slyly experimental music, but equally there’s nothing here that would scare any fan of Norah Jones or Madeleine Peyroux.
As Day Follows Night arrives here without too much fanfare but it deserves plenty. Remarkably appealing and thoroughly recommended.”
- MAIL ON SUNDAY, UK
THE MONTHLY – ‘SETTING HERSELF APART’
She’s a restless soul, Sarah Blasko, three albums in her recording career done: one in Los Angeles, one in Auckland, and now her latest from Stockholm. Each has been shaped by its location. From LA came the neat, crafted pop of her debut, The Overture & The Underscore (2004); from Auckland there was the nautically themed swing and drama of What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have (2006); and in Stockholm – well, she recorded in the same studio as ABBA, the Swedish affinity for jazz is noticeable in the upright bass and percussion, and there is the talent of producer Bjorn Yttling, which is the obvious reason why Blasko was tromping through the snow in February and March this year. Yttling is both a member and producer of Peter, Bjorn and John, a Swedish pop band most famous for their left-field worldwide hit ‘Young Folks’ in 2006, a song that, besides featuring a whistling solo, impressed with its stripped-back mixture of groove and unusual natural instrumentation. The engagement of Yttling is another smart move, in a career built on astute and brave musical decisions.
At 32, the Sydney born and based Blasko finds herself in the enviable but also difficult position of sustaining a successful career in a shrinking album-sales market and a music scene that thrives on new faces and novelty. So far she has played it by instinct, with eye-catching album sleeves and clever videos, and generally conducted herself through the publicity and gimmick-driven maze of the music business with dignity and intelligence. As such she cuts a wilful and unusual figure, one who baffles those focused on the traditional short-term methods of career advancement, but her approach should ensure a long and satisfying career if she wishes to stay in music. Alongside the quality and seriousness of her work, and perhaps linked to its unorthodoxy, is the pleasure of her media presence; especially her interviews, which go against the normal line of shamefaced promotion and blind hope that dominates the pop-culture space. Blasko squirms under ARIA nominations and is willing to admit or ponder mistakes in print; it is an endearing trait, showing someone who is both honest and in constant self-reflection, qualities that abound in As Day Follows Night.
The album is a triumph. It is one of those breakthrough records that only when it arrives and you hear the progression in spirit and song you see the potential that was always there, just waiting for the artist to make the jump. And Blasko has made a leap. This is the best group of songs she has ever put together, her voice has never sounded so good, and her lyrics are divine. It’s almost a shame that ‘All I Want’ doesn’t start the album – the slower curtain-opener ‘Down On Love’ fulfils the role, as tentative mood songs have done on all her albums- because the first flush of all these developments is held in this great single. The initial realisation is that the veil has dropped: gone is the crimped, at times awkwardly compressed style of lyric-writing in favour of the elegant and enigmatic statement of the obvious. So “Between love we make divide, navigate / Confusion translates what you can’t explain” from The Overture & The Underscore becomes “I don’t want another lover / So don’t keep holding out your hands / There’s no room beside me / I’m not looking for romance”. This is not to imply that the change has been sudden or unexpected. What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have was a transitional record, already showing a loosening of the lyrical knot and a preference for an adventurous sound driven by natural instrumentation; As Day Follows Night drives all the changes.
The first one may have come about while Blasko was writing the score for the Bell Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet in 2008. An admitted confidence-building exercise for her songwriting, it also allowed her time to compose on the backstage piano between nightly vocal performances. It is tempting to draw further conclusions from her long exposure to Shakespeare’s play. It the dithering, self-absorbed hero an influence on the hand-wringing, does-he-or-doesn’t-he-love-me central character of the album? Is “I’m finally mad, like a rush of blood the the head” in ‘Lost & Defeated’ a touch of Ophelia? And how far is Stockholm from Denmark, anyway? Nonetheless, for a songwriter preparing her first entirely self-composed set of songs for an all-important third album, Blasko has written a wonderfully melodic and diverse collection. Enter the producer Yttling, whom Blasko sought out, her admiration triggered as much perhaps by his production for the fine Scottish group Camera Obscura as by his work with his own band. Blasko and Yttling are a perfect match. He has fashioned a monster sound from the sparse ingredients of drums and bass and piano, building them big and full enough to carry many a verse and chorus with only Blasko’s vocal on top. The production adds much to this album; outside of her singing and songs, it is the start – a thoughtful, delightful, sonic field of sparse instrumentalisation that has been expertly recorded.
The album’s 12 songs tell a story. On What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have, nautical motifs, involving ships, storms, vessels, oceans and tides, were explicit in the lyrics and at times lacked some subtlety as metaphors for love and its troubles. On As Day Follows Night, the album’s theme is far more skillfully embedded. Most of the songs revolve around a relationship involving three people. The narrator professes her love to a man who, it seems can’t leave another woman, despite her best efforts to cajole him to remain by her side. The woman is Day and the man is Night, and the album’s title alludes to their tangle. ‘All I Want’, with its magnificent stoicism, seems outside this circle of songs, but on every other number, fro the opening track, ‘Down On Love’, where a case for happiness is put forward (“When all you life you’ve waited for someone to understand / To wake you up and speak your name”), to the demands of ‘No Turning Back’ (“I’ve put my heart right on the line / Now it’s time my love, it’s time”), to the dawning of truth in ‘I Never Knew’ (“But I never knew it would hurt like this / To let someone go against my wishes”), the dance of euphoria, disillusionment, pride and pain charted. A resolution of sorts is found in ‘Night & Day’, the last song, where an early chorus of “Bitter night and broken day” blooms in the record’s final line to “Such a lovely night and a beautiful day”. If it sounds overdone, it’s not; the weave of night and day and all the meaning that can be drawn from these two words is strung very gracefully through the album’s tracks.
But there is also a thrill-seeking giddiness to the album, as if to register that in the throes of uncertain love there are terrific highs to mix with the lows. Yttling’s production helps out, pouncing on rhythms and always up for fun with weird instrument choices and melody lines. And Blasko goes with it too, stoking up songs such as ‘We Won’t Run’ and ‘Hold On My Heart’ with big choruses that have a joy and a sense of abandonment that she has never achieved before. Leading the charge is her voice; recalling a sly 12-year-old one minute and Peggy Lee the next, it’s high in the mix and as stripped of the previous affectation as her lyrics. The mood is supported by the album’s recording approach, which gives the vocal performances a first-take trashiness that is backed by the live-in-the-studio feel of the musicianship. Songs don’t fade but rather wind down naturally, often with a lyrical denouement at the finish. The could have been a much heavier album but instead it skids and skates, glockenspiels ring, percussion knocks and cracks, and Blasko, while not at peace, seems strong enough to dispense herself such a cool and central wisdom as “Can’t please somebody, can’t please somebody else, until you’ve learned to look after yourself”.
Love has never been an easy game on any of Blasko’s albums. There is real pain on As Day Follows Night and it is perhaps no coincidence that this is the first record of hers not to have the lyrics printed. Whether the kick of the heart was bigger this time, or whether she now has the power to transform it into greater art, is impossible to say. It has inspired a remarkable set of songs and, being the artist that she is – and great artists search and travel for a place to nail their feelings- she found a collaborator in Stockholm to help her make a wonderful record. A classic, in fact. Give her the ARIA now.
- Robert Forster
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – ALBUM REVIEW
Sarah Blasko makes albums that condense her world view and emotional outlook into an illustrative and immersive song cycle; track by track she dictates her own reality. Understandably, she was tentative on her 2004 debut The Overture And The Underscore but 2006’s What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have is a genuine masterpiece, using the fierceness of frontier life to address questions of pursuit and control. As Day Follows Night, by contrast, is a record focused on a solitary, contemporary life. “I don’t want another partner,” she declares on the cinematic Ennio Morricone-influenced ‘All I Want’. Yet distance doesn’t restrict Blasko: the singer-songwriter’s watchfulness is intimate, influenced by the crafted, jazzy percussion that underpins tracks such as the cabaret tracks such as the cabaret stomp of ‘No Turning Back’. The songs favour direct speech over metaphor, which combines with a leaner sound to put greater emphasis on her astutely recorded vocal performances. As Day Follows Night is a startling work, redrawing the boundaries of Blasko’s music, but is also something of a revelation from an already much-value artist.
- Craig Mathieson
UNDERCOVER – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – ALBUM REVIEW
Before I start waffling on about how magnificent this album is, let me just get this out of the way. This is a serious contender for my album of the year call. Dare I call it five months early? No, I dare not, but it is just so so good from the first to the very last note.
Recorded in Stockholm, Sweden with Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn and John fame, Blasko’s third record sees her perfect the sound she has been playing around with (very successfully, I might add) on her first two records.
The record is coming from a very sad place most of the time, but it doesn’t feel like a sad record. Blasko is (or was) obviously reeling in a broken heart, which she has churned out and spit out in a refreshing spin on it.
Lines like “When I’ll be there, I’ll be there/I know I sound confused” in ‘All I Want’ and the bitter refrain of ‘Is My Baby Yours’ are just two examples of the different emotions Blasko manages to convey throughout the record.
A personal favourite is the rejuvenating pop of ‘Over and Over’, which is filled with a quirky brilliance that is wound up with a couple of lines from Talking Heads’ ‘Road To Nowhere’, which seems to fit in as naturally as if David Byrne had written it just for Blasko.
Her sense of melody is none more apparent than in ‘I Never Knew’, a haunting tune that is lush with strings.
The album is meticulously planned, but still feels natural and free and most of all every little note has a space. Sarah Blasko and producer Bjorn Yttling make a great team and together they have made an original and wonderfully revealing record.
- Tim Cashmere
FASTERLOUDER – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – ALBUM REVIEW
From earning a whopping seven ARIA Awards (including Album of the Year for 2005’s The Overture & the Underscore and Best Female Artist for her last album, What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have), to composing the score for Bell Shakespeare Company’s renowned production of Hamlet in 2008, Sarah Blasko has certainly come leaps and bounds since the days of gigging on dingy pub stages and her debut EP, Prelusive.
Recorded in Stockholm, Sweden, with the help of acclaimed producer, Peter Bjorn & John’s Bjorn Yttling, Blasko’s third full-length album is a significant turning point for the Sydney singer. Her first release without long-time collaborator Robert F. Cranny, As Day Follows Night sees Blasko take the reins for the first time, and the result is a more exploratory album, both sonically and personally.
Yttling’s influence is obvious. Most recently he has stepped behind the producer’s helm for artists like Lykke Li and Camera Obscura, and his penchant for lush, textured production has helped shaped Blasko’s most sonically diverse album to date. With the help of several Swedish jazz musicians, Yttling helped her create a musical landscape that goes well beyond standard instrumentation.
Indeed, the record is mostly stripped bare of guitar-based tunes she favoured in previous work. Subtle hooks, piano flourishes and sweeping string arrangements underlie ‘We Won’t Run’, which has a classic soulful ‘60s feel. Blasko’s strong, haunting pop sensibility is still very much present, but it is peppered with a definite jazz flavour, especially in the dramatic and brassy ‘No Turning Back’, and album highlight: the sexy, smoky ‘Bird on a Wire’.
Blasko’s velvety, fragile vocals have always been the standout in her albums. On As Day Follows Night, her voice is pitch-perfect and rich with a raw, honest quality. Her voice lilts and breaks through a collection of soul-searching and self-exploratory songs. In leading single ‘All I Want’, she seems to speak for anyone who has come out of a relationship with a sense of independence, but a feeling of confusion and loss, when she sings, “All I want is to someday know myself.” Her desire to capture the bittersweet quality of blues music comes through in Sleeper Awake, a melancholic but optimistic piano synthesiser-led ode to losing something, but desiring to find it again.
Sarah Blasko continues to go from strength to strength with each release. Perhaps this isn’t her most accessible album, but As Day Follows Night is certainly her most eclectic, adventurous and self assured.
THE AUSTRALIAN – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – 5 STAR ALBUM REVIEW
THERE’S a wonderful sense of drama on the closing segment of ‘All I Want’, the second song on Sarah Blasko’s third and best album. ‘All I want,’ she sings breathily as the music subsides, “is to one day come to know.. . my … self.” As she tails off, the Ennio Morricone – like vibrant strings and low percussive rumble return. One can picture Clint Eastwood riding off into the sunset to contemplate his oneness, tumbleweeds in his wake. Blasko has come to know at least one thing about herself since her last effort, 2006’s What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have. It’s that her voice, given much more room here than before, is a powerfully seductive instrument. It soars all over As Day Follows Night, a commanding presence set atop a loose assortment of keyboards, drums, double bass and the occasional banjo. There are strings and brass, too, but precious little of her first instrument, guitar. This new environment has freed up her voice. More than that, the largely piano-based songs are the most original and confidently performed of Blasko’s career. Some credit is due to producer Bjorn Yttling, who creates the shimmering dramatic underlay over which Blasko’s vocals fly. There’s a familiar sadness in her tales of failed and unrealised relationships, no more than on the closing Night and Day, a beautifully bleak few moments of folk-pop. Mostly, however, the music is a celebratory counter to Blasko’s melancholy. All 12 songs are exquisite. An album of the year contender.
- lain Shedden
ROLLING STONE – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT’ – 4 STAR ALBUM REVIEW
More Accessible, Less Icy from Singer and New Swedish friends
While Sarah Blasko’s voice and finely wrought songs have been widely lauded, there has always been a question of the connection: Where hushed, breathy tones might create intimacy for other singers, in Blasko’s case they often sound downright spooky. With As Day Follows Night the singer ends her creative relationship with Sydney musician Robert F. Cranny – who co-wrote and co-produced her first two albums – and in doing so she shakes some of the ice from around her sound. Produced by Bjorn Yttling of Peter, Bjorn and John in Stockholm, the irony is that despite the freezing climate this was recorded in, it is as warm as Blasko has ever sounded – immaculate, organic, and airy. Yes, it’s still spooky in places – check out first single ‘All I Want’ – but on skipping little jaunts like ‘Hold On My Heart’ and ‘Over & Over’, or melancholic magic like ‘Is My Baby Yours’, the listener is invited inside to share in Blasko’s brilliance, rather than just being forced to admire it from a distance.
- Jude Winston
TRIPLE J MAG – ‘AS DAY FOLLOWS NIGHT – A MATCH MADE IN SWEDEN’
Listening to this album is like flying a kite in a gathering storm: exciting, but slightly ominous. This third LP saw Sarah travel to Sweden to work with producer Bjorn Yttling (of Peter, Bjorn and John) and his influence is impressive. Blasko’s vocals are sensual and vulnerable as always, and Bjorn’s production brings a big drum sound to the record that sounds like far-off thunder, especially on ‘Hold My Heart’ and ‘We Won’t Run’.
Sarah’s songwriting has developed, too. ‘No Turning Back’ sees her experimenting with less traditional melodies and structures, while the raw and aching ‘Is My Baby Yours?’ shows the Blasko of old.
These songs have a mood and a personality that sets them apart from current music without giving the appearance that the sounds have simply been cherrypicked from a particular musical epoch.
Sarah’s music has always had an ethereal quality, and together with Bjorn she has made what will be one of the most interesting and beautiful albums of 2009.
- Vijay Kkuran