words by tom johnson
While it might well have happened elsewhere, the new album from Rachel Brown’s thanks for coming project is certainly the first time we’ve shared a split EP by the same band. Things are far more straightforward than first appear, however, and “sspplliitt” simply represents the two sides of thanks for coming; one being Brown and the Chicago version of the full band and the other the New York rendering; the latter of the two evolving after Brown moved back to the city in late 2016.
So what we really have here is Brown’s bountiful and beautiful pop songs brought to life by two different backing bands – and, as you might expect, it all falls together brilliantly. In fact, the six tracks here might well be Brown’s most encompassing to-date; a notable point given the forty-odd releases that are scattered across thanks for coming Bandcamp page, not to mention Browns work with Water From Your Eyes, who we fell awfully hard for last year.
All of which brings us, eventually, to the music itself. Opening track “Losing Touch” immediately shapes the tone of the record, Brown’s voice an immediately endearing anchor, the centre-point from which the bedroom-pop aesthetics of the music rotate around, solid and reliable, as always. Elsewhere, “When The Weather Gets Cold” and “I Can’t” are wavering gems, indicative of Brown’s ability to pen songs that feel immediately charming but that slowly, quietly exude a sadness over repeated listens. “I can’t sleep without you here. When I dream, I dream of fears…” Brown sings on the latter, with an elegance that belies the simmering sadness within.
In fact it’s that intricate balance that “sspplliitt” succeeds on. By leaning one way and then the other – the juxtaposition between the rough and the smooth, the quiet and the solitude, never truly apparent but always there – the songs take on a greater weight, little moments of light that we know won’t stick around for long but ones that we feel replenished by regardless. It takes a special kind of songwriter to craft such things, and here’s the living, breathing proof of that. Check it out below right now.
“sspplliitt” is released this Friday, via Yellow K Records