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Rae Morris - Someone Out There (Album Review)

Thursday, 01 March 2018 Written by Jennifer Geddes

Rae Morris pushes herself on her second release, ‘Someone Out There’, and the result is a collection of charming alternative pop tracks that celebrate everyday bravery and reflect a period of change in the singer-songwriter’s life.

While Morris’s 2015 debut, ‘Unguarded’, hit #9 in the UK Album Chart, and showcased her captivating voice and talent for writing offbeat pop songs, much of it felt somewhat drowned in the sort of classical-crossover dance production made popular again by the likes of Clean Bandit.

Tracks like Under The Shadows and Love Again gave her some footing in the charts but failed to crack the Top 40. As such, her sophomore release was not hugely anticipated, and no one would have been all that surprised had she faded into the background.

‘Someone Out There’ has ensured that won’t happen. Stripping back the production to the minimum has allowed Morris’s vocals to shine more than ever before. Her soft and textured voice impressively leaps between octaves and across staccato notes to smooth melodies on tracks like Atletico (The Only One) and Do It.

Even on the LP’s more conventional tracks her vocal performance adds unusual elements, such as the way she elongates the pronunciation of ‘physical form’ on the song of the same name, so that it becomes the structure behind the melody.

Much of the sparse production that allows Morris to shine is thanks to My Riot, the producers behind London Grammar, who worked on many of the album’s tracks. These compositions play around with space. Push Me To My Limit is largely built around a single long chord, with the vocal line carrying all the melody.

Lower The Tone takes this idea further with some simple vocoder effects. It pulls you in close and builds intimacy with the listener on a song that’s about just that. Other tracks have synth lead counter melodies such as the unabashed bubblegum Dip My Toe or the ‘80s-style Dancing With Character.

Morris’s other major collaborator on this album was Fryars, whom she worked with previously on the duet Cold. Over the course of writing the album the two became closer and their bond developed into a relationship. On Do It Morris sings: “You can write the next line.” Later she goes on to say, with a dry wit: “We could write another duet, or instead babe, we could just do it.” Her lyrics are full of character, and somewhat reminiscent of Lorde with their ability to build a sense of time and place.

The final track, Dancing With Character, is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. She sings: “Now he’s dancing alone, losing control, moving from the memory in his bones, dancing with character and he’ll never stop dancing 'til he’s back with her.” The track is about the grandparents of a friend who always went jive dancing together. The man continued to do so long after his wife’s death.

All of these songs, whether they are personal experiences or Morris writing from an outside perspective, showcase people facing down difficult situations. By pushing herself to create something different, Morris has shown she is brave enough to keep developing her sound. While ‘Someone Out There’ might not initially have been highly anticipated, she’s ensured that her third release will be.

Rae Morris Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 15 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE O2 Academy 2 Newcastle
Fri March 16 2018 - GLASGOW Art School Glasgow
Sat March 17 2018 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Mon March 19 2018 - PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Tue March 20 2018 - OXFORD O2 Academy Oxford
Wed March 21 2018 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute2 Birmingham
Fri March 23 2018 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Sat March 24 2018 - BRISTOL Marble Factory
Sun March 25 2018 - BRIGHTON Brighton Concorde 2
Wed March 28 2018 - LONDON Heaven

Click here to compare & buy Rae Morris Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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