Member of Olympia bands The Crabs and [a]Cadallaca[/a]; teacher; writer; political activist… Sarah Dougher sure lives her life to the fullest. ‘Day One’ is her debut solo album, a songbook brimming with gently chiming folky pop songs, expertly fashioned observations and lyrical twists. Oh, and a startlingly ‘straight’ take on The Eagles‘ (spit! spit!) drivetime snoozer ‘Take It To The Limit’, but we won’t hold that against her.
Songs like ‘Secret Porno Collector’ recall a less carnal (but no less street-smart or cocksure) Liz Phair, a fierce intelligence, and just as fierce tenderness lurking in her masterful attention to minute (but important) detail. Dougher certainly refuses to adopt the ‘victim’ stereotype paraded by many, more mainstream, female singer-songwriters. In her songs, she is more likely to be found standing alongside the action, making profound observations and setting the situation in some kind of emotional, political context.
If this all sounds a little cold or clinical, then that’s without reckoning upon Dougher‘s innate pop knack. Songs like ‘Summer’ hum with a sumptuous melancholy, while even as explicitly political a track as ‘Bella Abzug’ buzzes along with such an exultant, spunky fire in its belly (imagine an acoustic Sleater-Kinney). Because, though, even in her music, she might be a teacher, an observer, a social activist, she’s a singer-songwriter first and foremost. And it’s her expertise in this career that shines through the strongest.