Fans of trance may recognise her name from her collaboration 'Out the Sky' with Lange, or from her subsequent work with John O'Callaghan or Dash Berlin.
Some may know her as the lead singer of Paper Aeroplanes, the moody indie-pop group who released a debut album back in 2010 and followed it up with three more.
Sarah’s latest project is a solo one under the name of ‘Bryde’. It couldn’t be further from the trance days and while there are hints of Paper Aeroplanes in some of the slower songs, really Bryde is a full-on rock project.
The Bryde album ‘Like An Island’ was released on 13 April, and Sarah brought the record to Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh three days later.
The guitars steps on the gas next. ‘Honey’ has a classic rock and roll chorus which Howells vocals enhance brilliantly. ‘Handstands’ tells a fractured love story with intensity. ‘Desire’ is fun, fast and infinitely re-listenable. Live, the drumming and bassist accompanying Sarah really contribute to what becomes a heavy showcase of rock.
The band most comparable to Bryde are probably LA outfit Warpaint, but there’s a distinct edge on the music that makes it unique. The strong vocals always rise above the music and the words remain clear and poignant. The music is put together incredibly neatly, incredibly cleverly. It seems like it has been scrupulously crafted. And it possibly leans more on traditional rock than Warpaint. Almost like it’s somewhere between Warpaint and Pearl Jam.
The band numbers are big, the solo songs from Bryde quite genuinely beautiful.
‘To Be Brave’ is an instant classic. To put it simply, it’s just brilliant songwriting. Starting ‘You pinch her cheek /Bring back the colour / Some winters can make a world of difference’, the melodic accompaniment does exactly that perfectly - accompanies and enhances the lyrics without stepping on them or taking away from the magic.
A final play of ‘Transparent’ was the perfect end to a gig that rose to heights of energetic rock but could also silence a crowd with lyricism. A great outing by Bryde, and while Sneaky's was slightly subdued on the Monday night, it was as intimate a space as ever.