What The World Knows, the second studio album from Galwegian Laura Sheeran, comes out almost one year after her crowd-funded and highly acclaimed debut, Lust of Pig and the Fresh Blood. What I found most astonishing to learn about the Dublin-based artist was that she is in fact, a cousin of Ed Sheeran, a fact hard to believe when you consider how miles apart the two artists are musically.
While Ed prefers to stick to rhyme driven acoustic rap, Laura errs on the side of haunting and melodic tracks, which suck the listener in to the detriment of everything around them. One track in particular, ‘Forever Love’, is almost trancelike in its delivery, and was available as a free promo in the run up to What the World Knows‘ release.
Sheeran is no stranger to the Irish music scene, and has been involved in some act or another since the age of fifteen, when she was enlisted by family friend Clodagh Simonds (Mellow Candle, Mike Oldfield) when she was looking for someone to sing harmonies with her new project, Fovea Hex, and has since also formed part of Nanu Nanu. On top of this, the Galway native has made her way as a composer, soundtracking various theatre shows and short films. This theatre influence can definitely be felt in track ‘Live Long’, which has a really theatric air about it, or ‘Hurricane’, which sees the classical nuances of Sheeran’s repertoire come out.
With such mixed influences as Bjork, Bach and PJ Harvey, I think it’s a fair estimation to say that the jack-of-all-trades Sheeran takes what shouldn’t fit together and makes them fit anyway; classical influences under heavy electronic production. ‘REDLIGHT’ is an example of such: thumping, eerie and haunting all at the same time. ‘The Devils Tongue’ provides a fitting closer, capturing the essence of the album.
If I had one criticism of What The World Knows it would be that, as haunting as the tracks are, towards the latter half of the album they all tend to blend into one another. While for some listeners this might be a good thing, I thought that it gave the record a bit of a droning vibe. That said, if you’re looking for an album to just stick on in the background and listen to the whole way through, Sheeran’s second album is the one for you.
Key tracks? Definitely ‘What The World Knows’ and ‘Forever Love’: with lyrics like “Sweep me off my feet and teach me what the world knows” and “The way you wrapped your arms around me, I could feel your fire” make Laura Sheeran stand out from the electronic crowd.