Various Artists, There and Back Again Lane

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 10.13.11 in Reviews

There And Back Again Lane

Various Artists

The final Sarah release — named, like all their compilations, after a Bristol landmark — is fascinating, representing founders Matt Haynes and Clare Wadd’s final take on what the label meant. It suggests a label that wasn’t about a sonic identity, but about a songwriting aesthetic: lyrics concerned with the subtleties of emotional dynamics most of all, with an undercurrent of awareness of place (“Rio,” “In Gunnersbury Park,” “Paris”); music that, no matter how precise or scattered it might be, was a frame for fragile voices to reveal their fragility; songs with a keen awareness of pop music’s transience. Sarah takes its final bow with a bit of plastic funk, of all things: Even As We Speak’s “Drown,” a song about the impossibility of a satisfactory resolution.