Lucy Gooch - Rain’s Break Music Album Reviews

Lucy Gooch - Rain’s Break Music Album Reviews
The UK musician’s latest release is her most substantial work yet, adding a new sense of momentum to her ambient dream pop.

Using her voice, a synthesizer, some reverb, and little else, Lucy Gooch makes music of surprising complexity. Graceful and unhurried, it could soundtrack dramatic aerial footage of natural wonders: mountain vistas, sweeping steppes, glaciers calving into the sea. Its billowing dimensions and cloud-like shapes resemble ambient music; it is atmospheric in the extreme. But where ambient music’s runtimes can often sprawl into the double digits, Gooch’s work rarely breaks the three-and-a-half-minute mark. These are pop songs cloaked in cascading vocal harmonies and opulent robes of reverb. Imagine a garment that could make the wearer’s limbs resemble ocean waves: That’s what Gooch’s flowing production does to the trim melodic frames she drapes it over.

Born and raised in Norfolk, England, and currently based in Bristol, Gooch debuted last year with Rushing, a five-song EP that framed the dream pop of the Cocteau Twins in the language of sacred music, right down to the church organ on the title track and the Old Testament psalms she quoted in its lyrics. A similar air of mysticism permeates Rain’s Break; her songwriting and sound design alike are radiant and suffused in wonder. In the hands of a less talented artist, music so keenly focused on transcendent feeling is a risky proposition; it can easily tip into kitsch, or worse, pure hokum. But on Rain’s Break, Gooch manages to keep pushing outward while remaining grounded.

Like her debut, Rain’s Break has five songs; the EP is actually 30 seconds shorter than its predecessor, yet it feels bigger and more substantial. Gooch says that she upgraded her synthesizer on this record from a Roland to a Prophet, which perhaps accounts for the added sense of presence in her keys. Her synths have extra bite here, an almost imperceptible hint of serration in their edges, and she uses them in new ways. While pneumatic chords and buzzing organs remain her stock in trade, she also experiments with staccato textures and subtle pitch-bend effects that give her songwriting a newfound sense of movement.

In music this spare, patience is everything. Gooch lets the contours of her synthesizer dictate the pace of the title track; her call-and-response vocals follow the breath-like rhythm of the notes as they swell and decay. Many of the record’s songs drift through multiple movements and even the occasional key change. The first two minutes of “It Brings Me Back to You” are taken up by the back-and-forth motion of soft, unobtrusive string synths. Then, just as you are lulled to the point of distraction, the notes fade, and her voice rings out above a plucked bassline: “Oh and the silence, it brings me back to you.” Suddenly, we are seated alongside Enya, rigging slapping against the mast—an unexpected and delightful place to be. Still, despite the songs’ tendency to wander, they betray no trace of excess. Gooch has said that many were pared down from three- or four-part suites; the editing has served them well. For an artist whose favorite trick is the seemingly infinite crescendo, she clearly knows the value of restraint.

Gooch cites the influence of postwar British filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s sumptuous use of color and atmosphere—Raymond Chandler wrote of their 1945 film I Know Where I’m Going!, “I’ve never seen a picture which smelled of the wind and rain in quite this way”—and even for those unacquainted with their work, it’s easy to see how the language of cinema has inspired her songwriting. Her imagistic lyrics (“Coloured in ash and orange”; “Rain falls hard on leather leaves”) lend to the music’s synesthetic pull, contributing to the overwhelming swirl of texture and color.

She has a lovely voice—clear, slightly breathy, and powerful in an understated way. Her vocal melodies are more agile than on the previous EP, her technique more ambitious. Like Elizabeth Fraser, Gooch sometimes sings in made-up syllables, but from there her lyrics morph into more clearly articulated ideas. There is a sense that she is homing in on private revelations: You can feel her pulling her thoughts out of the ether, mouthing the words before she is conscious of their meaning—a kind of divining trick. “I’ve been living with a quiet ache,” she admits on the opening “Rain’s Break”; in the closing “Ash and Orange,” she allows a chord modulation to pave the way for a moment of catharsis: “In my head/In my heart/I take it with me wherever I go.”

The record’s apotheosis comes halfway through, on “Chained to a Woman.” The song begins with soft, chiming synths that gently echo Hiroshi Yoshimura’s GREEN; Gooch’s voice comes sneaking in like water rising in a flooded house. As she sings of a secret desire being expressed for the first time, the chords take on its shape, twisting and turning into sensuous new forms: “All those things that I suppressed in order to survive/They really weigh me, weigh me/Down to my inner world, a tulip with its wings unfurled.” The chords pivot and her harmonies stack like the stripes of a rainbow, blurrily laddering skyward: “Wanting to pretend/Wanting to pretend.” It is a stunning finale, the opposite of the song’s subdued beginning; her transformation feels embodied in each quivering waveform. Where Rushing sometimes seemed to use its layers of reverb like a weighted blanket, a therapeutic form of obfuscation, “Chained to a Woman” hits with the force of a revelation. Gooch’s dream pop is opening up new dimensions; the deeper she goes, the more she uncovers.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Lucy Gooch - Rain’s Break Music Album Reviews Lucy Gooch - Rain’s Break Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 15, 2021 Rating: 5


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