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Sophie Jamieson finds her stride on her mesmerising debut album Choosing


Release date: 02 December 2022
Sophie Jamieson - Choosing cover
05 December 2022, 00:00 Written by Adam Wright

Building on musical concepts she’s been developing for nine years, Sophie Jamieson’s debut album Choosing showcases a fully-developed sound that sees the singer seemingly in her element. Themes of failure, longing, and substance abuse are explored with a backdrop of dusty pianos, sharp guitars and mystifying vocals.

Documenting the singer’s climb from the depths of despair, it’s a record steeped in intimacy. Deep and thoughtful moods are centred throughout the album, with subtle instrumentation often adding to its overall pensiveness. Live strings, drums and guitars create space for Jamieson’s delicate vocals to expand into and set the pace, while also adding to the Choosing's gloomy atmosphere.

Poignant lyricism – often delivered with a smokey vocal akin to Angel Olson and Sharron Van Etten – flows through the record’s spine, and tells of Jamieson’s struggles to drag herself out of a self-destructive cycle. “Crystal” sees the singer in a drunken stupor, commenting on how she likes things when they’re blurry. Meanwhile, the lead single, “Sink” – written as a letter to alcohol – depicts the captivating feelings of alcohol dependency.

The album’s general composition is well-refined too, and often sees Jamieson’s delicate vocals laid over stripped-back instrumentation, before blossoming into soundscapes that embody their cathartic nature (“Runner”; “Violence”; “Fill”). The use of voice gives these tracks a real edge - with impassioned layered vocals used to amplify the album’s lamenting character.

Though Choosing is by and large a fairly quiet album, with drums being used sparingly throughout, some tracks push the sound beyond its assumed borders. The album’s opener, “Addition”, is a true highlight, and features a latter half awash with Richard Hawley-inspired guitar lines joining up crashing drum breaks. Similarly, the use of drums on “Boundary” and “Runner” adds a musical depth to the tracks that enhance their overall sound.

While well-refined, the composition of some of the tracks sometimes comes off as slightly formulaic and a little predictable. “Empties” and “Downpour”, for example, could do with a little more meat around their bones, and feel denied their full potential. While the instrumental subtleties do aid in creating the record’s thoughtful mood, some tracks would likely benefit from a bit more of the oomph showcased elsewhere on the tracklist.

Choosing does, however, feel like a natural conclusion to this period of Jamieson’s creative development. A deeply pensive effort, wrapped in catharsis and messages of self-healing. It’s an ode to the songwriter’s continual artistic progression and durability, an album as conceptually complete as it is undeniably mature.

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