Philadelphia’s Elaine Rasnake recently released her debut LP Breathe Again. This is a beautiful piece of art in and of itself, made all the more impressive by the fact that Rasnake wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered the entire thing alone.
Breathe Again is an 8-song collection of indie pop tunes that are at once thoughtful and fun. The listener is greeted on the opening track, “Lighter/Brighter,” with a thumb piano riff over ambient synths as Rasnake sings, “I wish that I could be a little bit softer.” It’s immediately clear that this album is nothing like other DIY indie pop being released right now–in the best way. Using drum samples, synths, and acoustic guitar, Rasnake’s soundscape is anything but typical.
The strength of this album lies not only in the clarity and uniqueness of production but also in the range of songwriting that Rasnake displays. Following “Lighter/Brighter,” the album progresses to songs that will make you want to dance. From the beats on “3 am” to the bouncy riffs in “Spacesuit,” Rasnake knows how to get you moving in your chair (which I may or may not be doing at this exact moment as I listen to the album…). The album closes with beautifully fingerpicked songs, “Wildfire” and “Breathe Again,” featuring impressive descant harmonies that transport the listener into Rasnake’s universe before being set gently down at the end.
My personal favorite aspect of this work is in the lyrical themes that Rasnake touches on throughout. Some of these songs are purely introspective works, such as “Lighter/Brighter” and “3 am.” Some are joyful love songs that will make you want to remind your partner how much you love them, which is truly refreshing as a general theme in contemporary music. Rasnake closes with the lines, “So I’ll be bold and daring like I promised to / Yeah I’ll be bold and daring like I promised you,” in a feat of lyrical brilliance that brings together the ideas of self-accountability and partnership so perfectly.
Be sure to catch Elaine Rasnake on July 21 in Newark, NJ, at the Index Art Center, 8 pm, for the Best Hit TV Album Release.
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