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Rachel Goswell, "Waves Are Universal"

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4AD
Fans of Slowdive and Mojave 3 can rejoice: this debut proves that the loveliest member of both bands indeed has the talent to carry a project all her own. Not that this is a complete surprise, as anyone involved in the aforementioned groups has to have some serious chops, plus an EP released a couple months ago let the cat out of the bag already. The fact that Goswell can carry a whole album ostensibly on her own is news, though, and it bodes well for the chanteuse's future works both in bands and on her own. The finer moments of English folk and American country are paired together with field recordings and a taste of rhetoric to make these songs to live, and the voice of a fallen angel to command them to do her bidding. Goswell knows her stuff, letting in the right amount of every ingredient and then taking the song to wonderful heights. She also lets them all breathe just enough, not taking the idea to an extreme or longer than it needs to go. These are concise and fully-realized tales, perfect in their time and place. Shifting styles in the songs also show a willingness to explore new territory, whether accordion or pipes and whistles, and though some of them don't add much to the proceedings it's nice to hear the attempt at loftier heights. There are more than enough moments where those heights are attained, from the gorgeous double-tracked vocals to the infectious melodies, to heartfelt lyrics about missing the one you've discovered who makes life worth living ("No Substitute," easily one of the album's best tracks). Not every song is a gem, but there's more than half a great album to be heard, and that's impressive for a solo debut. The songwriter within is finding the right elements and the perfect mixture. With the initial awkwardness past her, Goswell now has the ability to improve on the concept and find all the right stops. 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 August 2005 05:45  


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