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Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Jan 17th, 2018

Jordan Rakei: Wallflower

Jordan Rakei
Wallflower
(Ninja Tune)

Buy it at Amazon!

With his second full-length release Australian R&B singer/multi-instrumentalist, Jordan Rakei, expands on the level of dexterity and depth of feeling he put on display on his debut album, Cloak, which featured a delicious groove called “Midnight Mischief” that British instrumentalist/producer Tom Misch remixed to the delight of many Rakei fans. In terms of sound, Rakei is somewhere near the realms of fellow Aussies Hiatus Kaiyote, and Electric Wire Hustle (New Zealand). However, there is a heightened level of focus and awareness in the crafting of lyrics here that would seem to put him in a class of his own at the intersection of contemporary soul and R&B.

As the title would suggest, Wallflower is an even deeper dive into Rakei’s songwriting psyche, and his ability to capture his feelings associated with grief in such an incisive and insightful way makes it almost hard to believe that the guy is only 25 years old. On “Sorceress” he takes the familiar concept of feeling as if he’s under the spell of a past lover and turns it into a song the listener can feel as well by enveloping his vocals in a cascade of guitars and synths; on “Clues Blues,” a brass section punctuates the feeling of achievement that comes from figuring out how to live without a former lover. The gap between singer and listener continues to narrow on “Carnation” as the interlocking of instrumentals and vocals brings us right along with him on an “endless chase to trap the memory in the maze.”

This is the sort of album that begs for an intensely close listen, and in return offers a level of intimacy with the singer that is extraordinarily rare. It’s always worthy of celebration when an artist can deliver this type of shared emotional experience with the focused listener.

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Jordan Rakei: Wallflower