Album Reviews: Rae Morris, Metric
Rachel @ Fairyland
Let’s get this out of the way: Rachel @ Fairyland is a terrible name for an album, even though it was Rae Morris’ MSN handle as a teenager. But let’s put it aside for now. Want to know if this is an easy album to listen to when you are going through a breakup? It both is and is not. There are songs that made me think, “Ha! I should send this to him “and songs that made me think,” Wow, I’ll never feel the comfort of romantic love again. “It’s a prominent record, sweetly rendered in gentle tones soaked with care.
It is not surprising that there is a lot of comfort Rachel @ Fairyland when you learn that Morris recorded it with her partner (producer and musician Fryars) during the period when they received their first baby. Fryar’s features two-handed “Go Dancing”, which can be read as a message to go dancing even if your partner does not want to, or as a message that if your partner is a boring man who does not want to. spend time with you, then you should drop him.
There is an early Björk-like quality to Morris’ voice when she sings in unexpected rhythms, always sounds measured and probably does not lose any control. Even on “No Woman Is an Island” – an answer to the sexism she has suffered throughout her career that describes all the dimensions of a woman – she is calm, collected.
There is a dreamlike quality to every song, washing of strings and flashes of surprise. It feels a bit like it was made by an AI that listened to every album ever made, and then produced what it calculated the median record would be. The flourishing of the musical theater rubs against lines that end and roll on towards all musical logic. “The Wild” comes from twee doo-doo-doos to a stylish form of semi-industrial drum-n-bass. It’s surprising and funny, but you’ve never quite sure what to expect while knowing that the next song is going to sound a bit like the last.
Songs to stream: The Carrot, No Woman Is an Island, Low Brow
The Canadian band Metric has made a towering album Formentera, a nine-song epic that takes you from the bass horror of your endless social feed to a triumphant, wing-spreading finale. Their first since 2018 The art of doubting, It is best to listen as loud as possible, with despair and hope pushing yourself to the pole position in your brain.
In down-to-earth monotony, singer Emily Haines describes the horrors of modern life in «Doomscroller», and sings ominously, «Scum of the earth overpaid to rob anonymous / Ruling classes trickle piss from champagne glasses». The music is as dark with echo synths that appear between thumping bass as if they are on the run from a shadowy cartel. The first third of the album is concerned with how awful everything seems to be at the moment – clinking bones underpin the burn-it-all-down mentality of “All Comes Crashing”; “It feels like eternity for what feels like eternity,” Haines sings in the circular “What Feels Like Eternity,” a feeling I think we can all relate to.
Formentera is a Balearic island, but instead of playing into the thundering club heritage, the title track evokes images from after the party – as you stroll down the beach and feel the reverberations of what you did at night. It eases us into the second phase of the album and the contemplative nostalgia for “Enemies of the Ocean” before we plunge into the melodic dance floor fun in the final part.
It is a satisfying listening, and builds joyfully from doom to relief. For a people stuck in the cycle of doom, Metric may give us a glimmer of hope.
Songs to stream: Doomscroller, Paths in the Sky, I Will Never Settle