Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer's 2000 release, You Were Here, was the stuff of which VH1 dreams are made, but dreams never really came true on the charts. Perhaps that's why she has followed the diverse, catchy and inventive nature of her last album with All of Our Names, an album not befitting any of those adjectives. Luckily, Harmer's understated approach to lyrics and vocals remains. In "Greeting Card Aisle," she slips into and out of poetry in a manner that, while pretty, remains grounded: "I see twinkling in the window like a sparkle on the snow/Hovering to see if I can see you come and go." Also, Harmer restrains her voice for much of the album without sounding flat, and when her voice finally flutters and flies, it's striking. Unfortunately, All of Our Names isn't a cappella. Lead single "Almost" doesn't pack half the bite of last album's "Weakened State," and songs like "Silver Road" and "Dandelions in Bullet Holes" drag on with boring arrangements that sound like rejects from a Norah Jones recording session. Her old material worked because the accompaniment gave her subtle singing an extra rush, but this time the closing track title sounds more like a command: "Go to Sleep. "
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sam Machkovech

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