[25 March 2008]
Did you know there was more than one Clara Hill? I had a feeling about this from listening to her previous outing, 2006’s All I Can Provide, but the evidence is abundant on Sideways. With All I Can Provide, a mostly high-energy set of thumping tunes, the German vocalist kept the dance floors in motion. As it turns out, the slower, more serene moments on All I Can Provide were foreshadowing the warmth she exudes on Sideways, although the latter depicts a decidedly sadder tone. Her brand of melancholy, however, translates into more melodies and harmonies. Here, the beauty of having stronger melodies is that they are accompanied by enchanting vocal arrangements. While the Clara Hill who thumps and pops is groovy, this slow-grinding folk version of Ms. Hill could be on the verge of something special. The first track, the Sade-styled “Be Like That”, is the undisputed heavyweight of the pack (download that one for sure!), but other solid punches are the jazz-influenced “Everything”, “Sad Girl”, “Ocean Queen”, and “Once I Know”.