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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rachael Sage - New Destination [EP]

New Destination

Rachael Sage – New Destination
2014, MPress Records

Rachael Sage is a four-time Independent Music Award winning singer, songwriter, actor and sometime Comedienne.  With 11 full-length albums under her belt and numerous collaborations, it is hard to imagine Sage finding something new to accomplish.  Nevertheless, her latest release, an EP entitled New Destination, is a first for Sage.  Recorded primarily in her home studio, the songwriting on New Destination brings the intimate feel of a Rachael Sage show into the studio.  It also features some of her best songwriting to date.

Sage opens with the title track, with a bit more of an aggressive sound than you might be used to from her.  The bed of the song is still built with piano, cello, guitar and drums, but the verses have a workmanlike feel.  The chorus rises out of that atmosphere with an uplifting and hopeful melody and message.  This might be the most commercially friendly song Sage has produced in a while, and could be a breakout hit for pop radio in spite of the largely acoustic palette.  You’ll be hitting replay on this tune over and over, and you won’t be able to get it out of your head.  “Wax” is a thoroughly unsettled pop experience full of anguished beauty.  The rolling piano and metronomic rhythm section set the tone, as Sage’s soul searching creates a visceral ‘a-ha’ moment. 

“Misery’s Grace” is a cleverly disguised waltz with a gorgeous instrumental bed.  Sage holds the center with a personal and personable performance that’s straight from the heart.  It’s also one of the most striking vocal performances heard from her to date.  “Not Leaving You” is among Sage’s most affecting and personal songs, a strong statement about an artist who makes a point of coming straight from the heart.  There’s a distinctive polish to this tune, and yet there’s an elemental feel to the songwriting that manages to not get lost in the studio.  This is a brilliant love ballad that’s fit for a movie soundtrack, or perhaps even a Billboard bullet.

Brilliant is a word that gets thoroughly overused in reviews of this sort.  But it’s a word that’s entirely apropos in this case.  Rachael Sage combines brilliant, compact and heartfelt songwriting, professional polish and an elemental feel throughout the four songs on New Destination.  This is some of her finest work to date, and reflects, perhaps, a new stage in her career.  Given the recent attention her music has received on-line, Rachael Sage is on the cusp of the sort of breakout that Indie musicians everywhere dream of.  Whatever tomorrow brings, New Destination is a place where you’ll want to me.  It’s a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

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