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On 'Sugar Still Melts In The Rain', Sarah Mary Chadwick proves there’s always hope to hold on to

As far as music goes, you’d be hard beat finding someone that can manage to both crush you and make you feel whole the way that Sarah Mary Chadwick does. 

Chadwick’s songs are simple in their arrangement but hold an enormous emotional weight carried by the power and pain heard in her vocal delivery.
 
While opening track ‘Flow Over Me’has Chadwick expressing her desire to feel a spectrum of emotions, following track ‘It’s Never Ok’reflects on having to suppress deep-seated feelings of unhappiness and unease. The latter has something of an unforgettably bleak chorus, with the lyric “Tie myself to a lover / Who can’t tell I’m even alive” hitting the hardest.
Chadwick’s staple keyboard is given new life alongside a band accompaniment, with previous albums consisting of only her voice and keys. Difficult topics are approached by Chadwick with an almost casual air; depression permeates a great deal of the lyrics but there’s still something uplifting despite significant sorrow.
 
So great is Chadwick’s awareness that she isn’t afraid to face uncomfortable truths, as is the case on ‘Waiting on a Season’, when she reconciles with the terrifying thought that perhaps love from someone else isn’t enough.
 
The album’s title track has Chadwick pushing her voice as far as it can go, and serves as the album’s most outwardly positive song. ‘Felt My Heart’kicks into gear when the drums come crashing into the mix, ultimately enhancing the song’s tension and taking Chadwick’s well-honed sound to new heights.
 
Become Foam’is Chadwick at her most defeated – the underlying agony within her apathy likely to hit a nerve even in the most hardened listeners. The themes of loss and trauma are at their most evident on this track, making the arrangement of just Chadwick’s vocals and keys fitting and unflinchingly personal. Album closer ‘Lost Overwhelmed and Unsafepairs visceral lyrics with Chadwick’s commanding vocal to great effect. The final lyric we’re left with is Chadwick stating “At least it’s still red when I bleed” so resolutely. While Chadwick sounds worn out from the experiences she details across the album, the very fact that her blood remains red can easily be seen as proof she’s still alive despite it all.
 
Chadwick’s music ultimately has a remarkable resilience to it – where they are plenty of battles to face, there’s still a strong sense that things will, in fact, get better and that there’s always hope to hold on to.
 
9/10