Review: Eye of a Bird – Sarah Connolly

By Lizzie Dijkstra

Both sobering and beautifully detached, ‘Eye of a Bird’ demonstrates Sarah Connolly’s capacity to carry a soaring melody with such a sense of mature first-person omniscience, making it almost difficult to accept that a debut single could be so well crafted.

Based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sarah has been gigging for nearly two years. Since supporting the likes of Rews and Billie Marten in live show, the rising singer-songwriter has not only been signed by Pillar Artists Management, but has also earned a recognisable name in North East England. It has, accurately, been claimed that her sound draws upon that of Daughter and London Grammar, with an emphasis on otherworldly sonic images and nostalgia-laden melodies.

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She draws attention to the ordinary and the beautiful in this song; the recording commences with the sing-song of birds, a daily event that we often forget to notice. The simple clang of the piano is almost re-centering and there is a sense of poignancy in both the poetry and the quality of her voice.

“Don’t waste too much of that potion we found as we both lost our minds dancing in the sand.”

This song is a recollection of events in tranquility; however, there is a poison she sings of, and she does so in a time-slowing and organic way. Sarah is singing of something once tangible and now lost, and her celestial vocals are a perfect means of confusing dreams with reality. The thin textures draw attention to the elegant melody, perhaps even making the memories she sings of seem hauntingly bleached from overuse.

“And don’t waste your time chanting deafening lies.”

The piano’s chordal accompaniment compliments her soulful soul, ringing clean and clear across the valley of this song’s soundscape. It is enticing to perceive this song as evidence that life looks better in retrospect and, from up there, she is able to put to use the great wonders of a bird’s navigation system in order to survey past events.

The chorus is subtly laden with synths and an eloquent beat in the percussion; Sarah’s voice is set free and you can feel the energy of her nostalgic commentary. She proclaims that from the “eye of a bird / the moon would look ten times as bright as it does from down here on Earth”; an intimate reminder of our short-sightedness.

Oceanic overtones are added as the song continues, contributing a finer meditative detail to the texture. Sarah’s words are powerfully melancholic and it is as if her remembrances are causing her to reach the very frontiers of hallucination: “I remember the nights, you danced your fingers down my spine”.

The lyrics convey a sense of omniscience – “with a mind much older than I am” – and it is as if she is singing from up there, close to the pale-beaming sun but gliding low enough to see everything; from the past to the now to the future.

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I look forward to where Sarah’s musical future will take her as she continues to explore and develop her sound. With a debut single like ‘Eye of a Bird’, it isn’t difficult to predict that her music will soar and reach further heights.

Photographs: Jay Landman (Pillar Artists Management)

You can listen to ‘Eye of a Bird’ on Spotify by clicking here.

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