As a Sydney sider I hate admitting when Melbourne has one up on us but it’s pretty hard to deny the strength and diversity of their music scene. Amidst the burnt sienna sea of indie bands, Sabrina and the Red Vans bring a striking fresh shade to the colour spectrum. Their new album, Cheap Romance, paints a picture of a low-lit pub and whiskey bourbon.
Front woman, Sabrina Sandapa, has an impressive CV; achieving 1st place in the Folk/Acoustic category of the 2009 Australian Song writing Contest, winning the 2007 Coke a Cola live and local unsigned competition and receiving a nomination for best female vocal at the 2007 Los Angeles Music Awards. Lead guitarist, Greg Whitehead, bassist and backing vocalist, Suzanne Kinsella and drummer, Andrew Rogers, form the Red Vans providing the perfect platform for Sabrina’s flair and vocal command.
Cheap Romance was recorded and mixed in Melbourne by the hands of Callum John Barter (British India, Gun Street Girls, Mike Noga & The Gentlemen Of Fortune, Money for Rope, The Pictures). A nice surprise is that it also features musician Joe Cope from Eagle and the Worm and The Hello Morning. More to the point though, how does it sound?
Well, Cheap Romance certainly packs a punch but unfortunately it’s not always in the right direction. Whilst songs such as “With You” and “Alice Dwyte” ooze with attitude and uplifting defiance, other tracks seem lack depth and the same ‘POW!’ factor. It’s album that you chuck on and skip to your faves rather than listen to from start to finish. Still a great way to place a shiny streak in your playlist portrait, swapping airy vocals for old school prowess.
Review Score: 7.1 out of 10.