This is a highly anticipated record for anyone who’s ventured at least waist-deep into indie music in the past few years. Since 2012, Blackpool singer-songwriter Rae Morris has been quietly releasing singles and EPs; singing with Bombay Bicycle Club and Clean Bandit, and – an indie rite of passage – had a song on Skins. So she is better qualified than most artists releasing their debut LPs.
Perhaps symbolic of how long Unguarded has been in the making is the tick-tock intro of opener ‘Skin.’ It is spine-chillingly beautiful in parts, and is Morris’ announcement of her intention to avoid tweeness, with some quite dark imagery. After that we’re into poppier territory, singles ‘Under The Shadows’ and ‘Do You Even Know’ are indeed very danceable. However, this goes too far on album lowlight, ‘Love Again’ – an off-putting copy and paste club track.
It’s a solid debut overall, though after a few listens the incessant vocal layering becomes frustrating and makes it sound overproduced – perhaps a result of working with ex-Bieber producer Ariel Rechtshaid…
You can’t fault the songwriting, though. YouTube her performing the gorgeous ‘Don’t Go’ on solo piano, and you’ll pine for a more stripped-back affair.
[Ciaran McQueen – @_delareine]
Check out Ciaran’s interview with Rae Morris here.