Rachel Goswell - Waves Are Universal

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Rachel Goswell - Waves Are Universal

Better known as a founding member of Slowdive or, more recently, one-third of the quasi-country soundscape-painting Mojave 3, Rachel Goswell has always possessed the evocative vocals and distinctly serene presence that make her a reasonable candidate for a solo artist. But the decidedly understated character of Waves Are Universal seems entirely free of artistic pretense or desire to justify its own right to exist. Many of the electronic trappings of her other work are left behind. In their stead are the misty ether of acoustic guitar, accordion, banjo, flute and bagpipes that form an organic bedding for melodies that often point backwards into the folk tradition. If Mojave 3 is largely Slowdive stripped of its more dense electronics, this is Mojave 3 with its country twang drained and replaced with Goswell’s careful and mysterious chamber-folk aesthetic. Even so, a few tunes wouldn’t be entirely out of place on adult-contemporary radio, with the straightforward hook of “No Substitute” bringing to mind Shawn Colvin, and the shimmering, vaguely tribal feel of “Coastline” recalling The Cranberries. Even though she appears in no hurry to validate her solo predilections with bold artistic strokes, this understatement serves her rather well.

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