Reviewed by: Stephen Krock
You know when you’re watching Pretty Little Liars, and something super sad has just happened to Aria, and then an indie pop song kicks in to perfectly encapsulate the moment? And you’re like, “Oh, I should look that song up later!” But you never do. Well, let me save you some time. Portlandian pianist Sara Jackson-Holman’s Cardiology is a little jewelry box of songs ideally suited for whatever scene is currently playing out in the sitcom of your own life. Particularly if you’ve gone through a recent heartbreak. Hey, “Cardiology!” Clever.
Vocally, Jackson-Holman joins the league of whispery songstresses such as Nora Jones and Corinne Bailey Rae. It doesn’t wow, but it’s very nice to listen to. The strength lies in how she tickles those ivories. Instrumentally, Cardiology can take you from ethereal Enya-esque territory in the opening track, “Cartography” to whimsically woeful a la Nellie McKay in “My Biggest Mistake” and the title track. There are times when the album goes for straight up radio-friendly pop, with moderate success. The most triumphant moments, however, occur when those ingredients merge with the classical, as in “Can’t Take My Love” and “For Albert,” which is aided by Beethoven’s “Für Elise”.
Cardiology has the goods to keep your heart pumping from start to finish. See? You’re not the only master of wordplay, Sara Jackson-Holman!