The Light Game is the second album from Irene Rae. The album opens with a cascading fall of tones and textures from cymbals, piano and guitar. The influences are touched upon in this rhythmic jazz opening and so much more it is a mood, setting the perfect introduction to the melodic vocals of Irene Rae as she sings Never No. The instrumentation is a mix of bold tones and subtle tempos ensuring the stars of the show are the lyrics and vocal prowess of a true songbird.
Her voice curls around the lyrics with an assured sense of purpose, restrained yet emotionally in tune with the tone of the album. The interaction of guitar and voice of Emperors Clothes makes the song feel personal and as a listener, you feel connected with the song as if Irene Rae is singing in front of you for you alone. The piano is thrilling and the drumming underpins and strengthens the vocals giving them an edgy feel of grittiness on Raincatcher. The power of piano and vocals carries on with Time To Tell with clever use of cymbals to augment the intro, then the gentle closeness that her voice brings on Time Will Tell. The simplicity of approach to this song makes it stand out as you take a special moment out of the rat race caressed by the gentle voice and the power of otherness across the album.
As the beat picks up there is a gentle sense of urgency as Kurvex fills the speakers and brings a feeling of clarity in this bittersweet song with the refrain “what can I do to make you stay with me?” The beat flows with a speedy rhythmic swaying feel almost dancing but not quite everything is kept in control so nothing jars with the album tonal shape.
The song just keeps giving and then we reach the gold spot. The song that lingers, the one that you return to. Love Me So six tracks on has that magic mix. Ethereal vocals and the power of guitar, bass and drums that hum and vibrate in contrast with the purity of the voice. The crescendo of voice and instruments rise and then we are grounded in the voice that is the heart of the album.
Stepping Stone picks up on the magical power of stones that take us across the water and into a journey with promise, but will we fulfil them or even find them? A thoughtful number with a feel of English folk that mixture of honesty, self-doubt and hurt captured in a song.
The mood is lightened with a song that pops with a sense of purpose and song with a smile in its delivery as we explore Slight Of Hand that leads into the penultimate number Scream For Silence. Screaming is definitely not a reaction from this album. The title though resonates in this noisy clamouring world silence is a moment to cherish. The song is about screaming and no one listening. The door is shut on childish dreams and why the woman cannot leave the man who is not good for her. The song addresses deep social issues many can relate to in a gentle and healing way. The song and album may strengthen many people’s resolve to take the moment and join the Light Game and step out of their own personal darkness. Once again the muted guitar licks are pure joy for your ears.
Irene Rae leaves us with the title track, an album that touches your soul with clever harmonies and thoughtful lyrics delivered in a glistening tapestry of sounds.
The titles intrigue and the lyrics unravel the mystery with a story, emotion to share on this very modern singer/songwriter album. Intimate and personal. The instrumentations add layers of textural interest but never overpowers. The lyrics weave in the mood with threads of sounds from jazz, acoustic, country all woven into a diaphanous cloth of sounds by the dextrous vocal skill of Irene Rae’s voice. A perfect addition to lovers of singer/songwriters that soothe the soul and raise the spirit.
EIGHTdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Never No
- Emperors New Clothes
- Time Will Tell
- Love Me So
- Skippping Stone
- Slight of Hand
- Scream For Silence
- The Light Game
Irene Rae – Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
Stuart Dixon – Electric/Acoustic Guitars/Dobro
Roger Inniss – Bass
John Bowman – Piano
Luke Szoltysek – Drums
Recorded atCrescent Records Studio, Swindon
Engineered and mixed byStuart Dixon
Mastered byPete Maher
Produced byRoger Inniss and Stuart Dixon