Christine B. Phelan may only be taking her first few steps as a solo artist, but she’s certainly no newcomer to the world of music. As the frontwoman of Cork based band Parallel, she has already enjoyed success with the album Paper Walls and its follow-up EP, What They Want. Right now though, her focus is on her soon to be released record, Sapphire. Written and performed by the singer/songwriter herself, the five track compilation features a smooth and accessible blend of pop and blues.
It gets off to a deceptively solemn start through the cutting acoustic guitar and mellow trumpet blasts that introduce “Odd As It Seems”. These are soon superseded by the arrival of a fast and funky verse full of upbeat instrumentation and vibrant vocals. Add to that a chorus that’s both catchy and rousing and you get an energetic and infectious opening number.
The light and laid back opening of “I Do” comes next to preface an expressive melody. Trotting along at a steady pace, this pleasant pop piece keeps itself consistently busy as it rests easy on the ears. “Stony Ocean” features a slow and stirring acoustic riff afterwards, which continues to unfold behind an absorbing harmony. There’s a warm and welcoming quality to the whole thing that captivates completely as it progresses.
“The Other Side of You” follows by skipping into a merry beat that emits an optimistic ambience. It’s a delightfully bright and colourful composition, whose cheerful execution is ideal for relieving stress and putting smiles on faces. “Kicking On My Door” takes over then, pounding towards a riveting rhythm and heartfelt vocals, the enthusiastic attitude of which is extremely engrossing. Quick and quirky, this sprightly serenade acts as an exciting ending.
Phelan has put together a wonderfully whimsical collection of songs that are loaded with passion and spirit. Their soft and serene sound makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Sapphire is due to drop at the end of the month, with its launch show scheduled for May 28th at The Roundy Bar in Cork City.