Album: Sia

Colour the Small One, Island
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The Independent Culture

Australian chanteuse Sia Furler had a brush with fame back in 2000 when her single "Taken for Granted" made the Top 10. The album, Healing is Difficult, fared less well, and save for a brief liaison with Zero 7 the following year, nothing more was heard from her until now. Having the rug of celebrity pulled from beneath her apparently left Sia in need of therapy, which has undoubtedly coloured the material on Colour the Small One: pleas like "Don't Bring Me Down" and "Breathe Me" are akin to a small, doe-eyed mammal seeking warmth, while elsewhere Sia opts for more edible comforts. "Now I'm going to eat one hundred sweets," she asserts implausibly, "don't even care if I get fat." As with so many female confessional songwriters, emotional turbulence manifests itself in guilt and reproach: lines like "You don't own me", "You'll turn that around on me" and "I hate that you negate me" abound, delivered in a slurred murmur that becomes a touch irritating. Which is a shame, as there are some interesting musical ideas at work here, with furtive electric piano, fluting harmonium, marimba, melodica and subtle percussion. The effect is a cross between Tori Amos, Stina Nordenstam and Dido: down-tempo dinner-party music with touchy-feely sentiments for hard-done-by gals.