London-based neoclassical pop auteur Sasha Siem is one of those people that can make you feel pretty small. She’s an award-winning composer who had already composed for the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Opera house by her early twenties. She’s also studied music and poetry at Harvard and Cambridge. It’s amazing to have accomplished all of that in such a short time, but to encompass those experiences and sensibilities through pop music is truly incredible. Her debut EP, 2013’s So Polite, and her debut album, 2014’s Most Of The Boys, were both excellent. She weaves classical flourishes and evocative lyrics, and swells them into something huge with a large orchestral feel without it being unapproachable.
Her new album, Bird Burning, is due out this summer and the first offering is the dark-shaded, euphoric “Crow.” Siem uses heavily reverbed drums, pure strings, and haunting ambience to artfully unfold a love story. The drama and gravity of her sounds gives Siem the freedom to zoom out and give the story an epic quality, but her lyrics anchor the narrative in the intimacy of just two people. She navigates the ambivalence of seeking, finding, and maintaining a loving relationship through vivid description and magnificent introspection for a very moving three minutes. Listen.
Bird Burning is out 6/17 via Blue Plum. Pre-order is available here.