|Album Review: Sorcha Richardson - First Prize Bravery|
First Prize Bravery
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After cycling through the first listen of Dublin native Sorcha Richardson's debut album, First Prize Bravery, I found myself completely dumbfounded. After multiple listens, I must admit that I still can't quite comprehend the immensely human and authentic talent that courses through this ten-track release. Every song strikes a different chord, at times emotional, at others intellectual, but above it all, utterly relatable.
Written during a transitional time between her New York residency and consequent move back to Dublin, the album captures a coming-of-age story like no other. Between the stark imagery and dynamic characters, the piano-struck soliloquies and twinkling pop melodies, every thought and emotion is painted in an indie revival masterpiece. "It's a collection of stories about the people who came in and out of my life during that time, when everything felt like it was about to change pretty drastically," she confides. "I think subconsciously I was trying to capture the moments that felt important; my way of writing them down so I wouldn't forget them."
While the album opens up with a starkly poignant slow ballad, it quickly evolves into a multi-dimensional, colourful novel. The irresistibly alluring "Don't Talk About It" heralds in a Richardson that sounds defiant, comfortable, and certain of the sound she wishes to create. All throughout the album, she dances with a multitude of instrumental inspirations. Whether it be hazy synths, jagged guitars, or even a tambourine in "Oh Oscillator". But despite the changes in sound, her rich voice keeps it all grounded, lighting the way through the fog of memory as her stories unfold.
"I guess this is an album about beginnings and endings, about friendship and confusing relationships," she adds, "and the quiet, intimate moments I shared with those people amidst all of the chaos." The most prominent theme in Richardson's debut album is the power of small moments. Caressing an eloquent production of gentle guitar strums and vocal hums on "Red Lion", she recounts a simpler time spent with a friend along Silverlake: "Just come over whenever | Oh I like this life".
Conversely, tracks like "False Alarm" and "Twisting the Knife" reflect on the darker moments without ever losing grace or her diverse outlook. Because that's where Richardson's talent nestles- in her songwriting. Every lyric outfitted for a line in a poem, every chorus striking and vivid, and every emotion sunk deep within. Subconsciously filling you up, until what you are left with is a stream of continuous admiration. For Richardson, for First Prize Bravery, and for the simple but all-consuming power of stellar songwriting.