Eschewing the hopeful lullabies and languid odes to taking it easy that made her famous, Corinne Bailey Rae has drastically changed her tune on The Sea, the first release since the death of her husband in 2008.
A cursory listen to the mournful lyrics of the title track leaves no doubt that the topic at hand is grief: "The sea takes everything from me." The lone exception here is "Paris Nights/New York Mornings," which recalls vintage Stereolab and is, at least instrumentally, as frothy and breezily cosmopolitan as the rest of the album is dense, shut-in, and subterranean. Whether this body of work represents a brief shower on a sunny day or the eye of a darker storm in Bailey's career is anybody's guess, but The Sea is a worthy snapshot of one woman in the throes of the universal experience of loss.
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