Rakei starts as he means to go on…

 

‘The start to an album is crucial. Can this be overstated? I think not,’ says Off Licence Magazine’s Music Editor, Tom Gladstone.

Well, the summer just gone has been fecund with cracking album openers. Everything Everything’s explosive ‘Night of the Long Knives’ leaves a pleasant rise in the heart rate. Superfood’s hard groove in ‘Where’s the Bass Amp?’ gives your hips a new lease of life. Childhood decided to deliver four anthems at the start of ‘Universal High,’ their sensational new record, just in case one didn’t leave you satisfied.

Now, if we were to be so reductive as to play these artists off against each other – and let’s be – then there must emerge only one winner. Jordan Rakei.

The New Zealand born artist released his second full-length LP, ‘Wallflower’ very recently, and my word it does not disappoint. I hesitate to use the word perfect, but ‘Eye to Eye,’ the first song on this beautifully crafted album, is very special indeed. What dear Jordan has done with this song is to showcase both sides of his prodigious talent. The first part (and the first part of the song) is the soulful and simple chords, the kind that tickle the heartstrings and baffle other songwriters who long for such a synthesis of soul and simplicity.

I was first acquainted with the majestic voice of Mr. Rakei on Tom Misch’s ‘Beat Tape 2,’ and am seldom so beguiled by a singing voice. He uses this indispensable tool of his to lay some heartfelt, nostalgia-riddled lyrics on top of these opening chords and you’re a satisfied listener. Then, as if dropped down through some divine trap door, a bass and drum groove with as much feel as you can imagine envelops you. This, accompanied with the haunting repetition of the line, ‘We don’t see eye to eye,’ really cements this song as something special and leaves its traces indelibly marked in your mind for days to come.

He is playing with his phenomenally talented band at The Haunt in Brighton on the 13th of October. This will be something you will regret missing. Gig review to come…    

 

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