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Rachel Myall – Halves EP

After losing a good friend suddenly, Rachel Myall has taken a much stronger approach to her songwriting and composition. 

Save Our Souls is immediately flooded with this soulful sound, complete with a downbeat organ sound and a gospel choir. It’s a song that is filled with something seldom heard amongst her contemporaries. It’s got a lot of classic blues trappings, but also seems to take inspiration from Cajun jazz bands as well. The moodiness of the guitar, organ, choir, the lead vocals, everything has this air about it that works incredibly well. It’s a distinct sound that sets Halves apart from a lot of modern music straight out the gate. 

There’s a happy feel surrounding The Great Divide initially, with a recurring backing vocal in the form of an echoed hum. Surprisingly it sets the rhythm and blends together other instruments and acts as the core of the backing track. Adding in percussion, piano and a bopping guitar chord and you have the key elements to The Great Divide. The lyrics are essentially a love story with a bit more of a twist. Rather than trying to follow the usual falling in or out of love themes, it instead talks of someone asking their lover to meet them halfway. 

With a more country sound, The Gambler is this upbeat and more classically arranged track. There’s this rhythm set with drums, and various acoustic guitar arrangements that just sets up a feel good mood. The addition of a violin and flutes just serve to push the envelope even more out towards an old school country sound. The lyrics end up being one of the best parts of The Gambler, with this very focused look at a man with a gambling addiction. Every line carries so much weight and just serves excellently in adding Rachel Myall’s storytelling style. 

The final track of the EP You and I is dedicated to Rachel Myall’s friend David Jimenez who sadly passed away. It’s a fantastic tribute to a friend, with Rachel Myall’s distinct stylistic mix of country, blues and pop written all over it. A deep cello sound acts as the lead instrument, backed up by a mix of percussion and a subtle acoustic guitar sound. Despite the saddening subject, the vocals never falter or give away too much emotion, accentuating how much strength Rachel Myall is showing in the face of loss. It’s a beautiful song that gently sets off the EP by never breaking the thematics of the music composition, but still sets itself apart from what are three other wholly unique songs. 

Halves as an EP is filled with interesting stories in its lyrics and a surprisingly fresh feel in style. It’s accessible and easy to listen to, even for those who aren’t into country music. The uniqueness is Halves biggest strength, followed closely by how easy it is to listen to.