Sarah McLachlan – Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993): Review

mclachlan-fumbling

Produced by Pierre Marchand
Label – Nettwerk/Arista

The quiet confidence that laces every moment of “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” is well founded. The title of the album playfully misleads the listener as, far from fumbling, Sarah is in full command of her seemingly delicate Folk/Pop abilities, and this album builds on the potential of her 1992 offering (“Solace”), and would become her best and most pleasurable recording. The haunting Folk lilt and her distinctive Soprano are mixed with genuinely strong songs, generally telling stories of the tempestuous power of love. The Canadians’ decision to retain the services of Producer Pierre Marchand works wonderfully, and his ability to add luscious and haunting instrumentation, without detracting from Sarah’s vocal strengths characterizes every song. In addition, Marchand manages to capture McLachlan’s ability to multi track harmonize effortlessly, adding a serene ethereal feel to every moment.

mclachlan-fumbling

There are many highlights, particularly the stalkerish opener “Possession”, “Plenty”, “Good Enough”, “Circle”, and the title track, all performed with a sonic, passionate radiance that belies any thoughts of immediate commercialism, relying on the strength of McLachlan’s song writing, and the atmospheric landscape created by Marchand. There are minor mistakes, some would say the album is a little one paced, there is a tendency to over-use the sampled drum fills and there is one poor song, the throwaway and unnecessary spotty adolescent “Ice Cream”. Nonetheless, this is overcome by some extremely memorable moments and for an interesting mix of Pop with a gentle Folk inflection, “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” is well worth investigation.

7/10

Track Listing
1. “Possession” Sarah McLachlan 4:39
2. “Wait” McLachlan 4:09
3. “Plenty” McLachlan 4:05
4. “Good Enough” McLachlan 5:03
5. “Mary” McLachlan 3:55
6. “Elsewhere” McLachlan 4:44
7. “Circle” McLachlan 3:43
8. “Ice” McLachlan 3:54
9. “Hold On” McLachlan 4:09
10. “Ice Cream” McLachlan 2:44
11. “Fear” McLachlan 3:59
12. “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” (1) McLachlan, Pierre Marchand 9:49

Possession

Hold On

Good Enough

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