‘Filled with professionalism beyond her years, it’s an enthralling listen from beginning to end’
Intro to Rachel Grace:
Sometimes, when you hear a track for the first time – without knowing anything about the artist – you make completely the wrong assumption about them. This, as you may have guessed, was the case on first hearing the music of Rachel Grace. To put it simply, I assumed that the powerful, polished and professional sound of ‘You Don’t Know’ was the work of an established artist. However, in truth it’s the work of a 16 year old singer-songwriter from Wexford, Ireland. Filled with musicality beyond her years, Rachel latests release provides the perfect preview of what we can expect from her forthcoming EP, Routes (Out 27th May). Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Rachel Grace.
Featured Track: You Don’t Know
Built around an effortlessly infectious combination of hummed melodic lines and rhythmically folk infused hand claps, the opening of ‘You Don’t Know’ makes for an exposed, attention grabbing introduction. Earworm-like in nature, the initial sound is one which musically tunnels it’s way into our heads and after only one listen, it won’t escape. It certainly makes for an impressive start and as Rachel’s smooth, enticing vocal enters, it becomes even more so.
Remaining heavily focused around the exposed opening, but with the addition of drums, the accompanying elements provide a perfect setting for Rachel to begin her story telling. Immediately sounding mature – both lyrically and tonally – any preconceptions about the music that a 16 year old can create are thrown out and replaced by a sense of professionalism way beyond. As if this wasn’t enough, the seamless transition into the polyphonic guitar and percussion driven second verse serves as sublimely musical reinforcement.
Moving toward the mid section of the track, we are greeted with further musical delights in the form of the stylish sequence of pre-chorus, chorus, post-chorus. Pulling the sound back from where it has grown to, the pre-chorus finds the perfect balance between what has already occurred and featuring delicate piano and guitar lines, it is filled with anticipation. Aptly, given the atmosphere created, the chorus is one full of power and passion.
This said, while the dominating combination of guitar chords and incredible drumming hints at a more rock-like head-banging sound, in stylishly retaining the track’s roots, ideal contrast, as well as musical unity, is found. Pushing this further, the greater emergence of piano within the post chorus creates the perfect setting for Rachel’s now soaring and haunting vocal come to the fore. However, while it may sound like the pinnacle of the track has been reached, much more is to come.
Heading into the second half of the track, the emphasis on textural and harmonic development takes centre stage. Noticeably more chord led than to this point, the sound becomes one which seamlessly combines delicately syncopated piano with increasingly cross-rhythmic drum patterns. Add to this the use of multi-tracked harmonic backing vocals and sublime portamento on the lyrics of ‘wicked way,’ and it projects musicality of an even greater level. But like before, Rachel still has more to give.
Continuing to ensure we are suitably thrilled right to the end, the bridge sees a re-emergence of the opening haunting atmosphere. However, unlike before where this was of a much more acoustic nature, the accompaniment this time takes on an increasingly dreamy, soundscape like form. In doing so, the anticipation builds and as the repeating, title-centred lyrics take us to a phenomenal final chorus, we can’t help but remain as enticed and enthralled as we were at the start.