Review of Bertie Blackman's album Secrets and Lies released through Forum 5
Australian singer-songwriter Bertie Blackman offers up her third album 'Secrets and Lies' and in doing so, establishes herself as being pretty damn good at what she does.
Opening track 'Town of Sorrow' shows Blackman's beautiful soulful, haunting, vocal range but at first is a little too like Enya to take it seriously. But you needn't worry; as the rest of the album progresses, Blackman eradicates any further worrying thoughts of that comparison.
'Thump', with lyrics such as 'my only friend is a burning cigarette' sees Blackman show off her rockability (yes, that can be a word); something she's known for with her previous two albums and therefore is a easy track for her to include. And that is the beauty of this album; Blackman frequently changes genre from track to track, particularly seen with 'Black Cats' which uses synths and keyboards as if Blackman is afraid they are going out of fashion. Similarly with 'Byrds of Prey'; its electro nature made it an obvious for a single and one that got some airplay from those who appreciate well-crafted music.
'White Owl' is more theatrical with strong musicality; the combination of intense keyboards and sharp strings make this one of the strongest tracks on the album. Also intense is 'Heart', which is the only track on the album where you can hear Blackman using Radiohead's influence, a band she has frequently cited as important to her in the past.
By the time you reach the second half of the album, there are no surprises; just solid tracks that probably make you hold Blackman in a higher esteem than when you first put the album on to play. The theatrics on 'White Owl' and 'Come To Bed' are enjoyable, but the more haunting 'Clocks' shows that this album is one where each track has the ability to allow you to feel a different emotion. Cheesy, but true.
Blackman has fully embraced the electro genre that is so popular at the moment - highlighted by the fact she's been announced to support La Roux in the latter's tour of Australia.
Secrets and Lies is a step sideways from Blackman's past offerings; and due to this, for those already established fans, it might not live up to their expectations. However it is sure to pick up a sufficient number of new listeners. To solidify her place in the UK as a singer-songwriter, Blackman must build a successful tour here. She has recently announced dates in London and if there are warmly welcomed, she should consider touring the rest of the country, as there's no reason she shouldn't be a success nationwide.