Brooke Sharkey is a London-based singer-songwriter who was raised in France and the UK. Wandering Heart is her second full-length, telling tales of London-life and summers spent traveling the coasts of France and Italy with long-term collaborator guitarist Adam Beattie. A travelogue of sorts perhaps.
Wandering Heart is a sonically ambitious record, painting a broad sound canvas in muted colors over which Brooke’s voice soars and shines. Brooke’s backup band includes a French horn, an unusual addition used to full effect, and on this record her band’s sound is expanded by strings, utilized sparingly but very effectively to enhance the cinematic quality of her music. Brooke’s vocals are delicate and powerful, in the tradition of like-minded indie folk chanteuses, with the occasional Kate Bush-like quiver and a touch of Bjork’s quirkiness.
Your Tomorrow starts off with a lone guitar over which Brooke’s voice intones, quickly joined by a mournful French horn. The song crawls along at a snail’s pace, guitar and French horn laying down contrapuntal lines over which her plaintive vocals soar. A somber and restrained beginning for any record, and it sets the tone for a record full of medium and slow tempo songs, heavy on sonic texture and dramatic shifts, with great attention to detail both musically and sonically.
White Chalk is a minimalist petit opus built on a simple guitar figure with whisper quiet vocals that occasionally slips into darker territory, hinting at some deeper well of sonic mayhem lying just beneath the deceptively calm surface.
A more lushly orchestrated piece of chamber folk is offered on Come be Me, a mini-masterpiece with breathy French vocals that ebbs and flows beautifully over tribal drums and chunky guitar.
Where to Go is a breezy tune that gently floats along, bringing to mind a slightly more polished version of Tom Waits, complete with Marc Ribot-esque tremolo guitar.
Sailor’s Wife could be considered an experimental sea shanty. Over a wavering drone Brooke sings what sounds like a modern day Celtic chant, the story of a woman who gave her heart to a man of the seas.
Wandering Heart is an understated affair that occasionally leaps for the stars, perhaps an apt metaphor for Brooke’s vocals. It’s an intricate, lovingly crafted album that showcases a singer/songwriter on top of her game.
Wandering Heart is released 28th October 2016
The album launch is at The Jazz Cafe, London on October 27th. (more dates below)
OCT 27 – The Jazz Cafe, London
OCT 28 – St John’s Church, Totnes
NOV 08 – Green Note, Camden
OCT 30 – Hope Hall Arts, Exeter
NOV 01 – The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol w. Nuala Honan
NOV 04 – The Azur, Saint Leonards-On-Sea w. Poppy Prescott, Claire Hamill
NOV 06 – The Bicycle Shop, Norwich w. Adam Beattie and the Consultants
NOV 13 – The Convent, Stroud
DEC 10 – The Lighthouse, Deal