LABEL: FAIR TRADE SERVICES
RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 18, 2011
RATING: 5 OUT OF 5
I don’t just like Sara Groves’ music. It’s more like a lifelong love affair. Something about this veteran singer-songwriter does it for me every single time. Every. Single. Time. At least I’m not alone in my ardour. Her last album “Fireflies and Songs” was rightfully named “Album of the Year” by Christianity Today. But that was two whole years ago, and we’ve all been wanting more.
Invisible Empires has it all. Eloquence. Charm. Depth. Feeling. Long time fans will again fall in love with Groves’ trademark piano-driven pop whilst newer devotees are sure to be won over with her insightful and poetic lyrics. The album opens with the beautiful “Miracle” which reintroduces you to the wonderful world of Sara Groves. The following track is “Obsolete” rich, musically and ideologically. It is from this song that the album gets its name as Sara Groves explores effects of technology (in this case, the internet) on society.
A song by Sara Groves is one with a message. An album by her is one with a theme or central idea which holds the tracks together. Invisible Empires is no different. In “Scientists in Japan”, the topic of choice is quickly apparent – bioethics. She looks into bioethics … and provokes questions about death and the meaning of life. With a frankness that is synonymous with her guileless style, Grove asks “Who’s going to stay and think about it? “Eyes on the Prize” is another worthy of close consideration. It has a quirky gospel intro which then transitions into a soft-pop anthem about preserving against injustice despite the difficult obstacles that can detain us. Sara Groves masterfully sets the pitch and tone for each song right for maximum effect with minimum clichés.
One the qualities that most endears me to Sara Groves’ music is her candidness. The closer “Finite” was written with Groves’ friend and fellow musician Jill Phillips as a response to Chaka Khan’s hit single “I’m Every Woman”. In it, Sara confesses what we all know to be true “I’m finite, I cannot pretend”. Yet Invisible Empires is the 10th studio release from Sara Groves. She has been music-making for over a decade, releasing another ‘best yet’ LP with every new street date.
While being female is a gender, not a genre (to quote Adele), one cannot ignore the fantastic work being pioneered by female artists. Groves is one of them. The album is full of fantastic tracks. “Miracle”, “Without Love” and “Precious Again” are just a few. Consistently brilliant, effortlessly classic and endlessly repeatable – Invisible Empires is an album I’ll still be playing even when her next project comes out.
Review title provided courtesy of Fair Trade Services