For the last of the January micro reviews (albums I didn’t get a chance to review in full) I have a look at albums from electronic producer Ghost Culture and the new pop singer Rae Morris.
Ghost Culture – Ghost Culture
UK producer James Greenwood AKA Ghost Culture’s debut album finds him diving deep into realms of early House music and synth pop such as Depeche Mode. The building blocks for this album are firmly cemented in music designed to make you dance but then he likes to dabble around in other genres like Indie, Pop and the RnB tinged sound of James Blake.
As a songwriter Ghost Culture writes fairly standard songs vocally, even sounding catchy at times, but he mostly sounds like he’s delicately humming the words into the microphone in the coldest way he can, like a James Blake with less soul attached. The music on the other hand is often quite lively and beautiful filled with warm throbbing basslines, orchestration and a shiny gloss over the top of it all that makes it feel unbelievably radio-friendly at times. The contrast between his voice and the music works so well together at times especially when he nails a vocal melody like in the opening track to the album ‘Mouth’, which has something we could see a bit more in pop music – the ability to not have the emotional aspects of the song spelled out to you with melodramatic music.
Still, to call this album emotional dynamite would be silly as there are times where both the singing and the house beats become slightly stale towards the back-end of the album. A lack of variety really does strain the album even though it’s only short you may find mind drifting to other places. This is none the less a promising debut from an Electronic artist who seems like he wears his influences on his sleeve yet has crafted them into his own style.
Best Tracks: Giudecca, Mouth, Arms, Glass
Rae Morris – Unguarded
‘Unguarded’ is the much hyped debut album from Scottish singer-songwriter Rae Morris. Rae Morris lands on the pop market in the shape of many pop acts of the 21st century rolled into one. She is an undeniable talent with a voice that’s as smooth and delicate as they come, she has a willingness to make electronically tinged pop music that still sounds tender and she has an ear for killer melodies. The problem is that she doesn’t really take any sort of risks that make her stand out from the crowd, almost as if this is to stay safe from the risk of alienating people and trying to get as big a fan base as she can.
Rae Morris seems to capture the essence of the melodrama from a lot of modern pop songs with the sweet electronic sounds found in the likes of Ellie Goulding. There are moments of beauty throughout this record but there’s also an overwhelming feeling that you’ve heard a lot of it before. Take the song ‘Love Again’ which although like most of the other material on here is engaging, it still somehow manages to sound like a draft from the last Coldplay album. This doesn’t necessarily make it a bad album it’s just a shame that it blends in with the rest of pop music when she’s clearly such a talent as demonstrated on a lot of the smoother delicate ballads like ‘Don’t Go’ which capture everything that’s great about her.
If you’re after some solid pop music, very well sung with some great melodies then you can’t go wrong on this album, as it’s bound to be very pleasing for the people who have followed Morris’ journey. However, this album’s strategy of trying to play it safe for a debut ends up being more detrimental than it is good, as its lack of character makes it blend into the background of modern pop music.
Best Tracks: Don’t Go, Cold