Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rachel Goswell - "Waves Are Universal" (LP Review)

I love the shoegazing of Slowdive, and I also love the dream-pop, alt-country of Mojave 3 (formed from the remains of Slowdive).  Rachel Goswell is one of the two vocalists of both bands, and she achieves angelic perfection on songs like Slowdive's dreamy "Shine" and Mojave 3's smoky "Love Songs on the Radio".  Nothing against Neil Halstead, the other (and primary) vocalist for both bands, but listening to "Shine" makes you think "why doesn't Rachel sing on more songs?"

Well, 2004's "Waves Are Universal" is Goswell's first (and only) solo LP.  Just what I wanted: twelve songs with just Rachel -- alright!

Turns out, it's kind of boring.  I don't know if it is the song writing (Halstead was the primary song writer for Slowdive and Mojave 3), the production, or what.  None of the songs are bad, but none really stand out either.  I think some of the reviews (e.g., Pitchfork, AllMusic) give her a pass out of respect for her prior work, but if you read between the lines they see many of the same faults that I see.  Her vocals are guarded, and she's backed up by what sounds like a second-rate Crazy Horse

Stand out songs: none.

Skip 'em songs: none.

Songs that appear: "Coastline", "Save Yourself", "Warm Summer Sun", "Hope", "No Substitute"

Final score: 5/10.  Again, not bad, but far below what I hoped a Rachel Goswell solo LP would be.

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