1st Feb 2015
A small tightly packed Kazamier in Liverpool saw the opening night of Rae Morris’s tour to promote her sublimely rich debut album ‘Unguarded’, which was released on January 26th.
The tick-tock of the night’s first number Skin led us in to a night of beautifully executed songs backed by the hugely cavernous voice of Morris, weaving us through an album deep in reflection and romantic yearning.
The comparisons with someone such as Kate Bush (Do You Even Know and Under The Shadows in vocal phrasing at very least) can now probably be as tiresome as they can be complimentary, but they are here in evidence. Add to the recipe a smattering of Coldplay and yes, even a hint of Enya. But the main body of her abilities are unique to Rae Morris, a foundation that promises a longevity way beyond potential alone.
What she has is an ability to take you through several journeys of pain without ever feeling shattered by the experience. This is probably due to the warmth of the so far none too cynical approaches to lost intimacy. ‘Calling future love, do you exist’ she cries through the opening lines of the album’s title track, whilst later making vows to openness for a ‘future she has in mind’. This is not the echoes of a love scarred singer-songwriter approaching middle-age with hope fading, but from a blossoming 22 year-old hopefully still swept along by optimism.
The wonderful Cold featuring collaborator Fryars is at least as hypnotic live as the recorded version, and Closer lifts and carries like a warm summer breeze. But ask anyone here what their highlight would be and you could have at least a dozen replies worthy of merit. Atlantic Records believe in Rae Morris as someone who will develop at a pace that suits both her and her rapidly growing and fervent audience.
Whether she still quite believes they mean it is open to question with an engaging display of genuine surprise at the raucous enthusiasm her performance is met with. Never before for instance have I heard an artist on being brought back out for an encore asking ‘are you sure this is okay?”. Believe it Rae, it’s definitely more than okay.
All words by Paul Ariss. More work by Paul on Louder Than War can be found here.