Sound — 9
Released in September 2008, Lisa Hannigan's debut album Sea Sew made quite a splash in her native country, Ireland. The album's only single, "Lillie" was an Irish and American hit, gaining her the respect of Jason Mraz who invited her on a 42 day American tour. The album is a little ten track gem of an artist who truly came to her own after collaborating behind fellow Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice for some time. Each song has a small raw intensity about it and not one track suffers from studio trickery. Sea Sew has a mellow feeling about it, and only gets dark once during the second to last track, "Teeth". Retaining a simple guitar and percussion base, Hannigan keeps things organic and fresh with the addition of brass on a few tracks such as "I Don't Know" and "Teeth". Never exactly on pitch, but easily listenable, the brass gives the album a raw feel that truly only benefits the overall sound. While perhaps not what most people would call innovative, Hannigan has truly defied what many people consider to be good and perfect music. She's keeping it real.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, the album is just as successful as it is musically. Constant references to the sea give it a peaceful and relaxing feeling, perfect for a road trip. Her lyrics tend to go to the adorable side, but certainly not in a corny way. She manages to keep the listener listening by being articulate with her words. "Teeth" is a track that hits deep lyrically blending heartbreak, the sea and war into a 4 minute storm. Her voice is so simple, not reaching for anything out of her range, but hitting all the emotional points that she writes about. "I Don't Know" is a beautiful, upbeat song about what's ahead in love, and accepting that we don't always know what our future holds. And "Lillie" is one the most simple and beautiful songs ever written about a simple story of love and overcoming separation.
Overall Impression — 9
While it may have slipped under the American radar. Sea Sew's simplicity and rawness win out and make it a contender for classic status. Being a debut album, one is excited to see where this artist will end up next. Perfect for a road trip or a picnic by the sea, Sea Sew makes its mark on the listener in unexpectedly simple ways.