Sarah Mary Chadwick
Sugar Still Melts in the Rain
Rice Is Nice
Former Batrider singer Sarah Mary Chadwick has one of those voices you can’t help but but sit up and take notice of. Her distinctive Kiwi-via-Melbourne delivery belies a sadness that’s as bittersweet as ever on brooding ballad Sugar Still Melts in the Rain, perhaps the best thing she’s done to date.
The title track and first taste of her upcoming fourth solo record (out May 11), Sugar features Chadwick’s simplest and most flattering arrangement yet with just piano, bass and drums laying a bed for her to shine atop of, to the point it’s surprising she’s using the same mix engineer (Geoffrey O’Connor) as previous record Roses Always Die, which utilised more drum machines and electric keys. Credit here must go to O’Connor on bass (who also directed the video below), and particularly Tim Deane-Freeman on drums, who gently propels the song in the way Jim White might on a restrained Dirty Three instrumental.
That said, on the surface it’s a fairly straightforward ballad. But the aching depth in Chadwick’s voice as she delivers lines like “Cos who here can know exactly how another person falls through life, you say you can I say you can’t” is nothing short of remarkable, and a reminder of how powerful an instrument the voice can be in its purest form.