This is the US debut from the voice behind Zero 7 and the soundtrack Six Feet Under: Everything Ends. CD features remixes from Four Teta and Ulrich Schnauss and b-sides exclusive to the US release. Includes 'The Bully' that was co-written with Beck. Astralwerks. 2006.
Listening to Colour the Small One seems almost rude, as though you've just crept into someone's bedroom unannounced and read their diary, or even eavesdropped into a private conversation. A lot of this is down to Sia's voice; a soft, intimate, languorous affair that has the unsettling effect of being simultaneously sad and seductive. A couple of years on from her R&B-tinged debut and those classic pairings with Zero 7, the Australian vocalist has come a long way. The music here consists of basic frameworks of rhythm, enhanced by subtle percussion, folky harmonica and nothing more obtrusive than that secretive, melancholic voice. There's certainly room to breathe and Sia unfolds at her own leisurely pace. Opener "Rewrite" works the sad verse/sunny chorus formula to perfection, while "Sunday" turns "Strawberry Fields" harmonium into big orchestral trip-hop. "Sweet Potato" sours the flow, sounding contrived and too like Nelly Furtado for its own good, but "Bully", a collaboration with Beck Hansen, has a sweet melody that belies its subject matter. As cries for help go, this is up there with the best. --Paul Tierney