Unguarded by Rae Morris (Album)
Rae Morris’ debut album ‘Unguarded’ sees the Blackpool songwriter develop from an unknown gem to a writer of mainstream ambition
he’s been tipped for success during 2015 and now, three years after her first single, Rae Morris releases her debut album Unguarded. That first single Don’t Go was a crushing piano ballad and its presence on Unguarded reflects the development seen in Morris’ sound during the last three years. The 2012 version was a cathartic take on the Tom Odell model – arriving in the year of Odell’s debut EP Songs From Another Love – while the 2015 take is controlled, moody and velveteen.
This growth is felt in the rumbling Skin, synth-infected Under The Shadows – which makes an excellent reference to Kate Bush’s eternal Running Up That Hill – R&B flavoured beauty Do You Even Know and careening Love Again. There are also a couple of touching moments, such as This Time and Morne Fortuné. The record’s centre-piece though is Cold (featuring Fryars). Released last year, it picks up where Emeli Sandé’s Heaven left off and is the work of a songwriter possessed of both emotional range and subtlety.
It’s clear that the evolution of Morris’ songwriting is both the result of confidence in her craft and a desire to make a determined step into the arena of wider acclaim. This purposeful stride towards the mainstream works though because, despite the smoothing of her sound and movement away from more lo-fi tones, the things that made her such a promising talent remain – the piano still twinkles, the melodies still soar and that remarkable, unique, voice still has the power to shatter concrete ice. As such Unguarded should see Morris become one of the most recognisable songwriters of 2015.
Verdict: Elegant and stargazing pop