Rachel Goswell

Rachel Goswell is set to release her debut album, Waves Are Universal. Yes, you read that correctly - no one has put anything in your tea and there’s no need to adjust your set. After a wait of over a decade, Rachel Goswell has finally pushed her way to the front and, like with most twists in her career so far, Waves Are Universal is not what you ears will be expecting.

For the uninitiated, Rachel first made a name for herself back in the early-nineties whilst lead singer of Slowdive – a band very much at the credible end of the short-lived but well remembered ‘shoe gazing’ scene. As much as ‘that’ tag now grates, there’s no doubting that their legacy lives on; rare Slowdive records are much sought after, many of the current crop of wannabes would kill for a comparison to them and only recently were they dubbed “cool” by veritable German electronic label, Morr Music, who released a sterling tribute album in their very honour.

From the ashes of Slowdive, Rachel along with surviving members Neil Halstead and Ian McCutcheon created Mojave 3 - a very different prospect to Slowdive. They veered away from their famed, dreamy yet schizophrenic, guitar-laden melodies in favour of a more timeless, laid back, almost stoned country sound. Fortunately, their uncanny ability to tug on heartstrings and stir the listener’s emotions at will remained fully intact, seamlessly continuing their tradition for incredible song writing that keeps them ahead of the game. Last year saw the release of their fourth album, Spoon And Rafter, and they’re already busy plotting the fifth.

During Mojave 3’s third and fourth albums, Rachel’s long-time musical partner-in-crime Neil Halstead released his debut solo album, Sleeping On Roads, to much critical fanfare. Cynics may think that this was the impetus Rachel needed to finally record her first solo album but they’d be very wrong. Simply put, it has been changes in her life and a feeling that she was finally ready that led to Waves Are Universal and, for these reasons alone, it’s a very personal body of work and quite unlike anything she has done before.

Recorded with co-writer Joe Light and producer David Naughton, Waves Are Universal is, as said, quite a radical departure for Rachel. The track ‘Plucked’ best hints as to what is to follow - an album that has been recorded organically (so to speak), largely without the aid of electronic effects, allowing her to be heard away from the familiar delay and reverb of most her previous outings. What remains on record is pure atmosphere, which is unsurprising given David’s recording technique. On some tracks, Rachel’s vocals were played back in Chislehurst Caves and re-recorded to create a natural echo (‘Warm Summer Sun’, ‘Gather Me Up’ and ‘Hope’). In addition to this, both real-life sounds caught by an ambient microphone (‘No Substitute’) and field recordings made during a holiday in Thailand (‘Shoulder The Blame’ and ‘Plucked’) find their way on to add extra warmth and depth.

Waves Are Universal is proof that Rachel is a real talent. She’s starting another glorious chapter in her story and is no longer hidden away.
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