The roses are in fine bloom for Sia with the success of Zero 7's Grammy nominated 'The Garden' and the honour of her track 'Breathe Me' being chosen to close the final scenes of the final episode of the astounding and sorely missed 'Six Feet Under'. There's a lot of buzz about this kooky little dynamo of a woman whose voice has a porcelain like fragility that carries the lightness of touch in her songs, coupled with the power and heights her voice can reach pegging her in the running as a truly great female artist up there with Billie Holiday, Chrissie Hynde ('I Go To Sleep' is covered here), Debbie Harry et al, a female Joe Cocker perchance. Thankfully for us, Sia departed from the R 'n' B inflected debut album 'Healing Is Difficult' which has seen her vulnerability in song grow and her stature as a performing artist rise with the second album 'Colour The Small One' and as Zero 7's female tour de force.
Captured in New York's Bowery Ballroom in April 2006, 'Lady Croissant' opens with a new studio recording 'Pictures' and its counsel "...take her down from the wall...", to move on and leave that dead love behind, "...your skin burns and prickles when she's near..." wrapped up in a cutesy pop package. 'Don't Bring Me Down' warms the audience with the string section skirting a lake of serenity, "...don't bring me down/ I beg you...", Sia's beseeching song capturing the confusion and pain of a woman on the brink and a richness that reminds of 'Nights In White Satin'. The tender-most 'Blow It All Away' lets Sia's voice take flight with words drawn out allowing for held notes and vibrato vowels that brings Sting to mind, and a spellbound hushed silence in the auditorium as the band roll with this juicy plum of a track. New song 'Lentil' carries more than a little pulse (sic) - more a summer salad than a rustic casserole with a cabaret song of brushed drum and noddly bass keeping things minimal and a playfulness in song and delivery - "...oh, I never meant to let you down..." packing a certain voltage, whereas 'Numb' comes across as an indifferent track with a whineyness in verse.
Zero 7's finer early moments are visited with the songs that gave her broad exposure - 'Destiny' with its soft keys, "...watching boys in their hotel dressing-gowns..." tight and well rehearsed, and 'Distractions' - with jazz-lite licks, "...I only make jokes to distract myself/ from the truth...", the strings broody, keys soothing and Sia with passion in her heart. A cover of The Pretenders love-song 'I Go To Sleep' delivers a pretty penny with its lullaby swoon - "...I go to sleep/ and imagine that your there with me..." Sia's voice not as robust as Chrissie Hynde but the song chocked with tenderness. 'Breathe Me' has the great accolade of closing the 'Six Feet Under' series with its featherweight piano and lilting strings, Sia's voice soft-struck with a child's vulnerability, "...hold me/ wrap me up/ unfold me...", a track that gains power and soars over orchestral parapets
'Lady Croissant' captures non of the child-like kookiness witnessed in performance, but instead portrays an artist who's star is in the ascendant, whose voice is unrivaled in style and expression, an artist on the brink of deserved and assured greater recognition.