Serendipity is a strange thing..I had never heard of Sarah or her music until last week. I was initially drawn to the LP cover while browsing upcoming releases (I ended up buying the hand drawn one in the end). I’ve only heard the 3 pre-release songs, but it’s been a long time since I’ve hung on every word by an artist on first listen. Very real, raw poetry and words that keep you thinking and feeling long after listening. I’m glad this album found me and I can’t wait to hear the rest!
Me And Ennui Are Friends, Baby is the latest full-length from New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based singer-songwriter, Sarah Mary Chadwick, whose brutally honest songwriting has cast her contrary to the gentleness of most current music. Comprised entirely of minimal solo piano arrangements, the album is despondently clear-eyed and smirkingly self-deprecating, completing a trilogy of records that started with The Queen Who Stole The Sky recorded on Melbourne Town Hall’s grand organ, and her only outing to date featuring a full band, Please Daddy. Each record has followed Chadwick’s internal processing after a traumatic event, with Chadwick’s zeal for psychoanalysis front and center. On Ennui, Chadwick presents an exacting intensity with her choice to pare back to piano and vocals. It's in this stark setting that she focuses on the attempt she made on her life in 2019.
The methods Chadwick employed on Ennui contrast those of her previous full-band record, which thrust her into a very different world of rehearsal, planning, restraint and control as a functional tool. The result, 2020’s critically acclaimed Please Daddy, was her most aching and engaging achievement to date: “a raw, often unnerving experience,” which “delivers compelling and uplifting catharsis” (Mojo). Recording Ennui shortly after the Please Daddy sessions, Chadwick concludes her trilogy by returning to the most immediate compositional process she can muster, doing it alone, with less between her and the microphone than ever before. On Ennui, Chadwick is free, there is nowhere for her or us to run from the need to very presently and repeatedly articulate her trauma until it is simply, “articulated out.”
2019 saw Chadwick endure the breakup of a long term relationship and attempt her own life just weeks before the Ennui recordings. These events followed the deaths of her father and a close friend, and it’s from this weighty internal mire that Chadwick emerges throughout the trilogy. Imaginably, the result is staggeringly abject. But the incandescent nature of her will, knack for reportage and searing dark humor sets fire to the world she describes over these 12 songs.
Joined by long time production collaborators, Me And Ennui was mastered by David Walker at Stepford Audio and mixed & recorded by Geoff O’Connor at Vanity Lair - both expertly bringing scale, subtlety and intangible ascendence to this recording.