The moment I saw the cover of Sophie Barker’s second album, Seagull, I knew what the album was going to be like. It’s a rainy Sunday and the dinner’s cooking slowly, very slowly, with another four hours to go and you doze off, peacefully. But as she perched ever so ruefully on the roof, in a floral dress, with her acoustic guitar, I noticed even the seagulls and pigeons had flown off. I wanted so much more from Sophie Barker but what it felt like was a collection of B sides from Dido.
She’s clearly a talented singer and songwriter with a great, smoky, voice but there was something lacking and that was excitement. If Top Gear can release albums full of petrol head anthems then imagine Come Dine With Me released a muzak soundtrack. Muzak for the middle classes. Albums for people who don’t really like music to stumble upon by accident in Tesco.
She’s making a noise and it’s not a bad one just a very mellow, uninteresting and uninspiring one. I’d expect more from someone who has worked with Zero 7, David Guetta and Groove Armada. Sadly, this album isn’t one that either moved or intrigued me. Positives? Bluebell stood out as did Just For You but overall, the album is bigger on style than content.
Seagull is obviously a plaintive and reflective album but I feel it isn’t a body of work that will propel her to the heights required to take on the likes of Adele or Rumur. It’s a ferocious marketplace just now with female vocalists singing songs about heartache. This felt like an opportunity lost. You know she can deliver and maybe next time with better songs and more passion and assertion her time will come but for now, sadly, this bird has flown.
Review by Charlie Brown