New Zealand’s Brooke Fraser has been readying the release of her stand-out third album, Flags. With angelic vocals reminiscent to singer-songwriters Ingrid Michaelson and Colbie Caillat, Fraser’s 11-track LP combines descriptive songwriting with remarkable musical accompaniment.
Flags begins with the energetic “Something In the Water.” With a catchy beat and a chorus that is bound to stay stuck in your head long after the last verse is sung, Fraser kicks of the album strongly. Next track, “Betty,” co-written by Fraser, Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman and The Real Efforts of Real People’s Ben West, segues nicely with horn features, a driving percussion beat and Fraser’s relentless vocals.
Of Flags, Fraser says, “I’ve never used as many characters or as much narrative in my songwriting as I have on this record. On my previous albums, I was singing completely as myself, which is why I think I got so burnt out from touring.”
Last album, Albertine, Fraser says was inspired by “incredibly significant events and people and every time I’d sing I’d go back to that moment where my heart was ripped open. So singing such heavy songs nearly every night for three years took a toll … On Flags, it’s still me speaking, but it’s me speaking the voices of different characters and their stories. It’s more survivable.”
A new character is woven into each of Fraser’s 11 songs while her angelic voice captivates on all. “Orphans, Kingdoms” impresses with a steadfast drumbeat underneath her slower singing style while “Ice on Her Lashes,” a beautiful ballad, introduces soaring string features for the first time.
Continuously showcasing her versatility, on “Jack Kerouac” soulful electric guitar accompanies the Caribbean folk influenced track while moving ballad “Sailboats” displays Fraser’s more serious side. With a release this strong, Americans can expect to hear much more from the New Zealand native.
Watch Brooke’s video for “Something In the Water” below and be sure to visit her Web site to download “May Waltz.”