You find yourself humming Rae Morris songs unintentionally, whilst in the shower, cooking your tea, or along to her single playing on the radio. Even if you haven’t really heard the track before, you seem to know it – and that sort of sums Rae Morris up. Her music is like a good friend; always around, gentle – rather comforting. But equally – and somewhat refreshingly – honest.
Her debut album Unguarded has been a long time in the making, so it’s unsurprising to find a well-produced, slick and polished package. Teasing us recently on collaborations with Bombay Bicycle Club and Clean Bandit, it’s finally time for Morris to step out of the shadows and show us what she’s really made of.
Not that she’s completely alone here. One of the highlights of the album is ‘Cold’, which features long-time friend Fryars. It showcases Morris’s voice perfectly, as she laments the breakdown of a relationship through a conversation with her other half: “Your voice isn’t kind when you talk/You walk away when we talk/And your lips go blue with your thoughts/You never really cared what I thought.”
There are delicate ballads, like ‘Not Knowing’, dreamy vocals on ‘Do You Even Know?’ and punchy pop songs that come in the form of her most recent singles ‘Closer’ and ‘Under The Shadows’.
‘Closer’ is incredibly catchy (see first paragraph); the perfect mix of acrobatic vocals and driven beats, while ‘Under The Shadows’ sees Morris’s voice echoed and layered beautifully against her uplifting – and rather defiant – lyrics: “We’re afraid of nothing/No one can hear us/That’s where the love lies/Under the shadows.”
‘Love Again’ has garnered comparisons with Ellie Goulding, with Morris sounding rather sweet in a similar electro-pop style to Goulding. As a former winner of the BBC’s Sound Of… poll, those comparisons can’t be a bad thing – after all, Rae did find herself on the longlist for 2015 – but that’s where the comparisons end.
Unguarded is a fantastic debut from Rae Morris. Occasionally the songs sound a little similar, but there’s enough variety to keep you interested and it’s a great introduction to Blackpool’s latest singer-songwriter. It’s her writing that really stands out here; emotional and frank lyrics, luscious, catchy melodies and a lack of fear for experimentation.
It’s fair to say that Rae Morris’s star is rising, and she’s about to shine in 2015.