donderdag 10 november 2016

Choreographic. Rachael Sage

It always feels a bit awkward to hear a record that I like and reading back that the artist has a whole career behind him/her. I had never heard the name Rachael Sage before and now I learn that she has 12 records to her name before Choreographic. 12? Yes and the first one. 'Morbid Romantic' is from 1996! That is a lot to catch up on, if ever I find the time.

Rachael Sage has made a record, that I dare to call a ladies album. Choreographic is neatly produced, with little or no rough edges. The soft piano driven pop songs in control here. With her soft voice she sings her stories for us. Around her there is a rhythm foundation of bass and drums, but after that it is strings that fill out the songs and the piano that weaves in and out of the collective instrumentation. Her voice is a modest Alanis Morissette.

For me the album works like a miracle in the background. Over (cooking) dinner or later at night when we want to hear something pleasant to listen to while discussing the day or something. No, not as musac, as a positive contribution to the mood. Which never fails.

It is during these moments that a change of mood on the album really comes forward. Rachael Sage is able to rock out in a Fleetwood Mac/Christine McVie kind of way. A tight guitar in a melodic setting as in 'Try Try Try' works really well and prepares for the singer-songwriter song that follows, so that the ears are always tuned to the record together with the being together. There are not many albums that manage this fine balance.

The concept behind the album is her love for ballet and dance. She composed music with just that in mind, a full choreography for her songs. The violins and strings add a classical element to her songs. The basis of the album was played by her live band The Sequins. In that sense a thought of Kate Bush isn't a strange one. In the music it is harder to lay that connection, except for a few turns in the string arrangement and faintly in her style of singing. For the rest Rachael Sage's songs are too U.S. and too down to earth to compare to Kate Bush.

Personally I do not know one thing about ballet. If I had to describe the music without knowing the story, I'd write how dreamy I think the songs sound. How the music seems to float through the room. Almost a physical present to lay myself down on and be carried away. 'French Doors' is such a song. The music almost appears as waves in front of my eyes. Like one can see in a comic book when it shows music being played.

Choreographic is an album that is modest at first listen, but grabs me tight without any qualms about doing so. Also an album that is soft-toned, but in a way that can catch me unawares and carry me off with it, 14 songs long.

A career of 20 years and here I find myself writing on my first album by Rachael Sage. The introduction is an extremely pleasant one.


You can listen to Choreographic here:

1 opmerking:

  1. We found this on Twitter: "Thanks for the thoughtful review @WoNoMagazine :)". You're welcome.