Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Sinéad Harnett reconciles with her inner child on Boundaries


Release date: 26 April 2024
Sinéad Harnett – Boundaries – Album Artwork
24 April 2024, 10:00 Written by Emily Savage

While it may have been a long time coming, the London-born musician’s third studio album embodies her personal and artistic growth.

Arriving over a decade after her debut, and three years since her Ready Is Always Too Late LP, Boundaries is a testament to the time and depth of Harnett’s introspection. Exploring the various ways in which past trauma continues to manifest itself through current experiences, it’s an overtly personal delve into her most intimate thoughts.

With a careful balance of ultra-specific detailing and intentional vagueness, each cut carries striking emotional resonance. As much as “Shoulder” draws applications to the intimacy of close relationships, where it carries the most weight is in the form of a love letter to Harnett’s younger self. “Love how it feels getting close / You and me shoulder to shoulder,” silky vocal runs lay out. Transporting the listener into her entrancing sonic world, it immediately establishes the project’s manifesto.

Having moved to LA during the pandemic, Harnett’s artistry continues to be informed by an ever-widening pool of influences. With a sound that recalls the likes of Olivia Dean and SZA, her delicately crafted brand of R&B effortlessly balances realism and momentary escapism. On “Thinking Less,” ruminating guitar melodies and floating beats gently collide to form an ambient backdrop to captivating vocal delivery. Meanwhile “Spiral” opts for a dreamy, tonal approach to production, complete with intricately layered instrumental textures.

Between rhythmic swells and kaleidoscopic tones, diaristic lyricism grapples with the art of closure. The themes of acceptance, forgiveness, and personal growth serve as glowing threads throughout the 16-track record, albeit often tinged by melancholy. Navigated with mesmerising poeticism as well, there’s a more-than-ample number of lyrical gems weaved in. “As light as a feather, faith starts to float / The weight of your absence is far more than gold,” she utters in “Say Something”, before the twinkling keys of a short interlude take over.

A compelling introduction to its second half is “Burn,” a dazzling showpiece of Harnett’s creativity. While the record could have benefitted from more genre-blending cuts, the track makes a strong attempt to broaden her sonic palette. Brooding string-laden arrangements culminate, while introspective verses grapple with self-destructive tendencies, shortly followed by each layer falling away, and leaving a lingering piano melody to muse over her confessions.

After flickering between moments of vulnerability and doubt, the tone firmly shifts to unapologetic self-assurance as the album nears its end. “If I’m being honest, you’re so lucky you had me to start with / This ain’t the time to be modest, it should hurt that you’re losing me,” she boasts in “No One,” tapping into her newfound empowerment. With one final bite-back in the form of twanging bass-led “Wish You Could See,” Harnett’s boundaries have firmly been set, and she is closer to the most authentic and healed version of herself than ever before.

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