Rae Morris’ debut album has been anticipated for nearly 3 years. Whilst there’s been a collection of EPs and live shows in this time period, the world has been slightly quiet where the singer is concerned, until now. With a spot on the Sound Of 2015 long list it seems like everyone is beginning to awaken to her sultry vocals (which at times seem to channel something of Nerina Pallot) fused with electronic beats and intricate soundscapes.
Whilst opener Skin quickly draws you in with its metronome tick, it’s the follow on Under the Shadows which shows her ability to merge her soft voice with a heavier beat. Nevertheless for me it’s Don’t Go which really shows her magic. The vocals are mixed to ensure you can hear each gasp of air, adding to the sense of desire. Meanwhile the more stripped back piano melody highlights that she doesn’t need clever beats to create songs with longevity.
Elsewhere Cold, which features Fryars, has the potential to neatly cross over to the dance floor arena without losing its sense of urgency. For You on the other hand is so beautifully melancholic it has the ability to break your heart within just a few short minutes. Nevertheless it’s closer Not Knowing which perhaps most neatly draws the instrumentation and vocals together, juxtaposing more simplistic drum beats with the swell of the pianos which merge with Rae’s vocals into a beautiful harmony.
At just 21 years old Rae’s tenderness shines through on the album, though it’s coupled with a sense of longing and wanting which feels wise beyond her years. It’s this combination, completed by her open honesty, which makes Unguarded a startling album and one which demands for Rae to reach higher acclaim before the year is out.