Smooth and Sultry

Former Zero 7 singer Sia gives an inspiring live performances on 'Lady Croissant', her vocals wax and wane like a candle, needless to say she entrances the audience and commands their focus in much the same way as a flickering light in the darkness. Live albums are often mocked for their poor sound quality, but 'Lady Croissant' is as clear as a bell with the Bowery Ballroom crowd remaining calm until the necessary breaks between songs, when they salute Sia's dreamy, smouldering tunes. Infact most of the time it was easy to forget that this is a live album at all.

As well as her own solo work there are a pair of Zero 7 tunes included on this release, 'Destiny' is smooth and serene as ever, while 'Distractions' ends the album with icey piano notes and heavy-hearted strings accompanying Sia's vampish cabaret drawl.

High points include, 'Blow It All Away' a beautiful tune that sees Sia at her most impassioned during its string-backed chorus; the low strings ache beneath the ebbing and flowing vocals creating an organic, rich soundscape with a flowing, bluesy feel. 'Don't Bring Me Down' is equally ebullient with graceful strings breathing vivid colour into every note; Sia paints in all shades of blue and misty purple as her vocals sob and sigh. The instrumentation is spot on throughout the album, from the bass shadowing the vocals to create a sultry feel in, 'Lentil' to the waltzing piano notes of Pretenders' cover, 'I Go To Sleep', a silky smooth cover that soothes your ears with its easy charms. New studio song, 'Pictures' is by the far the most light-hearted track here, it bounces along with a bounding bass line and hazy, sweet vocals, "Your skin burns and prickles when she's near" sighs the balmy-voiced singer.

The woozy, smoky vocals of 'Breathe Me' build to a rapturous peak, apt then that it was featured on the finale of Six Feet Under, all manner of instruments soar and meander their way to a stirring frenzy that invokes images of Sia twisting and turning on stage like a wild thing.

Sia's live performances are evidently one to watch and with a new album planned this Autumn, this year is looking very bright indeed for the entrancing singer. Don't be put off by the fact that 'Lady Croissant' is a live album, it's as near aural perfection as any studio recording and utterly engrossing, prepare to be carried away on a wonderful journey