Sarah Blasko's first release, The Overture & The Underscore, washed in on a tide of accolades that fixed her as one of the more promising female vocalists in the Australian music scene of the early 2000s. Riding the tide of ARIA nominations garnered on her debut, What the Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have is an ambitious follow-up, indicating, if anything, that Blasko has staying power. Like Overture, What the Sea Wants wraps itself around Blasko's (and longtime collaborator Robert F. Cranny's) circumspect, at times cryptic lyrics and lush instrumental arrangements. But where Overture sparkled with guitar-driven pop, What the Sea Wants churns and broods with cellos and bassoons, swarming with waterlogged imagery combed from Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Distinctly colder than the first release and hovering somewhere between Fiona Apple and Coldplay style-wise, this album frames Blasko in gilded, elaborate chamber pop. There are a few light, shimmering moments -- "Always on This Line" ambles along with an easy, indie-pop vibe and "Planet New Year" canters along with Mellotrons and toy pianos -- but by and large the landscapes here are dark and foreboding. Because of this, What the Sea Wants might spook those who were expecting another serving of effervescent material along the lines of "Don't You Eva." But the stormy weather is worth waiting out for the lilting whimsy of tracks like "Explain" and spare, oceanic pieces like "The Albatross."
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AllMusic Review by Margaret Reges