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Rae Morris - Rachel@Fairyland (Album Review)

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

Rae Morris’s third studio album offers up a multicoloured patchwork of pop tunes, investigating and interrogating themes of British life against the backdrop of her hometown, Blackpool. The result is a joyful, frequently romantic romp through the singer’s heart and soul, sashaying into musical theatre and electro chamber pop with mixed results.

There are moments of real satisfaction. Morning Isn’t Morning is a darling love song, where warm rhythms interplay ably with leafy acoustic arrangement. No Woman is an Island is also decent, with Morris’s intimate lyricism weaving arresting tales of sexism and sisterhood next to excellent melody writing. It presents her sound at its best: conscientious pop music with flashes of grandeur.

But there is trouble afoot. Go Dancing features Morris’ professional and romantic partner Fryars and is a wistful AutoTune-led ballad, telling stories of runaway individualism and wonder.

Sounds good? It isn’t. From the clunky, weirdly Americanised lyric “Imma go dancin’” to the soppy interplay, there is something unshakably cringey about this song, and the video makes it worse.

Here, the two lovers perform in a luxurious interior that brings to mind the modernist mansion of the ‘cat lady’ in A Clockwork Orange, where Alex and his Droogs carry out a number of foul deeds.

The performances—delivered straight down the camera—are highly expressive but in a way that makes the central romance seem indulgent, luvvie and borderline trite. More problematically, this dreadful song sends shockwaves back towards the rest of the album, making one question many of the other creative choices.

Which is unfair, really. ‘Rachel@Fairyland’ is, for the most part, a pleasant and enjoyable record, with DayGlo emotions and a high degree of creative integrity. What Go Dancing, along with penultimate track, The Carrot, reveals is just how difficult it is to pull off the whole Kate Bush thing. Performing pop music with an exaggerated level of expressive melodrama is a high wire act, and one that can send a singer tumbling towards the ground many feet below.

Rae Morris Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri November 18 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Castle and Falcon
Sat November 19 2022 - MANCHESTER Band on the Wall
Sun November 20 2022 - BRISTOL Thekla Bristol
Tue November 22 2022 - LONDON KOKO

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