Under Review: Sia – We Are Born

When the song you’re likely to be forever associated with is six years old, you pretty much have free reign to take your career in whatever direction you like.  That’s the logic that’s being followed, at the very least, by Sia Furler.  Sia’s “Breathe Me,” originally on her second album, Colour The Small One, was featured in the series closing sequence of “Six Feet Under.”  That song got Sia noticed worldwide, though she had been quite active, both as a solo artist and collaborative vocalist with Zero 7 for a number of years.  Last year, without Sia’s help, Zero 7 made a jump to excitable pop music with Yeah Ghost, which showed that the production duo were perhaps best suited for the downtempo style they’d been presenting all along.  With her new album, We Are Born, Sia reinvents herself in a similarly upbeat image, though her change is a lot more convincing than her former musical associates.  We Are Born’s danceable pop can be attributed to a number of people aside from Sia herself: producer Greg Kurstin, who’s quickly becoming one of electronica’s most prolific knob-twiddlers, and Sia’s new girlfriend, JD Samson, whose work with Le Tigre and Peaches are obvious influences on We Are Born’s sound.

The album begins with some warped vocals before “The Fight” sets up the predominant musical themes: Sia’s acrobatic vocals atop funky, jittery beats.  Sia’s voice bends and soars through each song, from breathy coos (“I’m In Here”) to sassy squeals (“You’ve Changed”).  Not only has the overall tone of Sia’s music changed (ahem, “for the better”), but the most specific genre experiments have gotten more eclectic.  “Bring Night” combines some snappy punk rhythms with a tremendous chorus hook, and “Clap Your Hands” brings a subtle amount of Sia’s trademark somberness to an otherwise bubbly track.  Though We Are Born can (and likely will) leave the listener feeling like they’ve snorted a whole pack of Pixy Stix, Sia’s new persona is her most enjoyable yet.  There’s no telling how long it will be until something new strikes her fancy, but now is the time to become a Sia fan.

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~ by E. on June 23, 2010.

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