Sarah Jaffe‘s 2010 debut album Suburban Nature established the Texan singer-songwriter as an artist of power and promise—an impression that was reinforced for me when I saw her up close and personal at SXSW. Jaffe’s been touring hard behind the album, and while she readies her full-length follow-up, she’s prepared the DVD/EP package The Way Sound Leaves a Room—due to drop on September 27. The CD is a collection of demos and covers, while the DVD is a short video of a concert in Dallas.
The set will please fans, but is unlikely to win many new ones: though it’s all perfectly nice, the highlights of the set are the same as the highlights of Suburban Nature. Both “Clementine” and “Vulnerable” shimmer in crisp live performances, but the covers are surprisingly limp—even Robyn’s ballad “Hang with Me” does exactly that, hangs rather than rises.
I’m still convinced that Jaffe is poised to grab the attention of a much larger audience; though The Way Sound Leaves a Room won’t facilitate that feat, it will surely please the loyal fans for whom it seems to have been intended.