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No real problems for Sia

Sia“Some People Have Real Problems”

The name Sia Furler may not be instantly recognizable, but her work with chill-out masters Zero 7 has been used in a boatload of movies and television shows. For her third solo venture, Sia steps out with “Some People Have Real Problems,” a 14-track collection that spotlights her quirky vocals and lush arrangements.

Sia entered the music business with a few R&B/dance club hits in her native Australia but didn’t hit her stride until providing the vocals for the haunting “Breathe Me,” which was used in the climax of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” series. Her continued work with Zero 7 led to critical acclaim and the eventual solo releases.

Comparisons to artists like Amy Winehouse, Nelly Furtado and Dido aren’t unfair, but Sia is a more modern version of the female singer/songwriter. There’s no denying that the 32-year-old Furler has a distinctive voice and her songs work hard at putting the focus on her vocals.

Despite some bizarre childish cover art (chosen by Sia herself from contest entries), “Some People” puts on a more serious face than her earlier work. This album drifts further from the chilled essence of her first major label outing, 2004’s “Colour The Small One,” while simultaneously disposing of the electronic sheen and somber pop in favor of a more energetic, upbeat attitude.

The CD quickly gets down to business with “Little Black Sandals” before offering up its two strongest numbers with the bluesy tint of “Lentil” and the first single titled “Day Too Soon.” As a songwriter, Sia Furler obviously heads off in a few unique directions, but it’s apparent she’s got the chops and the voice to back it up. Full orchestration blesses tracks like “Soon We’ll Be Found,” while the lone cover, a smooth take on the Ray Davies chestnut “I Go To Sleep,” is even more melancholy than the original.

Through the use of the new OpenDisc technology, the CD also provides online access to four extra downloads, a music video, a photo gallery and more of the colorful artwork. It all adds up to a satisfying package and some excellent mood music.

As the title suggests, some people may have real problems, but Sia Furler isn’t one of them.

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