Sarah has, in the past, given us songs with neo-classical meets, dancefloor style and seduction with Addicted, and more recently, more subtle and understated moves with Clarity. But, both these songs sit easily into pop-dance territory, although perhaps at somewhat opposed ends of the spectrum. Karma offers a third style in as many singles.
It takes the groove and energy of the former and raises this to new heights but stops short of merely being bold and bombastic and instead opts for more subtle creative urges. So there it sits, the perfect centre point on her sonic map, indicating that she can write songs which much more punch should she choose and that she can also play things cool when the need arises.
Karma is the best of both worlds. Energetic enough to rock the dancefloor but exhibiting a more mature and mellifluous style. You don’t need to throw everything but the kitchen sink into a song… Less is more…cut your cloth to make the suit…more haste, less speed…pick your prefered phrase or adage. But they all point to the same thing, that Sarah can understand just what needs to go into a song, what is necessary, what is really at its essence. Anything else is superfluous and will get in the way and obfuscate.
It takes from everything from 70’s Disco energy to 90’s soul revivalism to modern pop-dance, but it uses these only as reference points, navigating its sonic lane through and between these sounds and styles, but ultimately arriving at a musical destination which is all about where things are at, rather than where they have been!
And, as has been said in almost every review of her music, indeed every review on this site, is that gorgeous voice, Perfect pop pitch. Rich and resonant. Modern yet full of the rich tones and textures of the soul and jazz pioneers of earlier times. The perfect blend of past sonic traditions and, of the moment, addictiveness.
Karma again shows that Sarah is almost unrivalled in the pop field, as at home with slick understatement as with addictive grooves. We all know what pop is. It doesn’t need any massive overhaul or change of direction. The art of it is to play by the rules but do so in a way that blends freshness and familiarity to appeal to the underground aficionados, the commercial pop-pickers and even those generally found outside its musical graces. And that is precisely what is going on here.