Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles
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Erin Rae ‘Soon Enough’ - Album Review

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Jackson, Tennessee native Erin Rae has folk music running through her veins. Almost literally; her parents were part-time roots musicians and Erin grew up performing with them at churches, county fairs and coffee shops in West Tennessee. Now in her 20s, Erin is the leader of Erin Rae and The Meanwhiles and has spent the last few years touring, boosted by the release of the ‘Crazy Talk’ EP in 2010, and now with the impending release of their debut full-length album ‘Soon Enough’ on September 4. The record is a charming collection of thirteen tracks that drift serenely between modern indie folk and Americana, weaving Erin’s pure and gentle vocal delivery with eloquent storytelling and emotional analysis.

‘Soon Enough’ is bookended by ‘Light Pt 1’ and ‘Light Pt 2’, two atmospheric and relaxing tracks that make use of reverb and harmonies to drape a sense of ethereal wonderment around the record, the latter something of a lyric-less reprise, the former guided by the line, “I know sometimes if I’m in a dark place, I have such a hard time letting the light in.” This is very deliberately and clearly constructed so that we end up in the same place we began, a cyclical, repeating journey through forests of soundscape and notions of returning to the same experiences, memories and emotions. Erin longs to wipe her transgressions and regrets away in the frankly lovely country song ‘Clean Slate’, while in the title track she assures and advises a young girl that things will be okay and happen for her soon enough, almost as if talking to her own younger self. “I’m only just now beginning to figure it out,” she sings, and we feel the full weight of the meaning. ‘Spitshine’ continues such a sentiment of the virtue of patience.

There are plenty of love songs on the record too, but not in a conventional way. ‘Panic’ shows love and adoration for someone but a willingness to cut them free if they are not happy where they are, while ‘Minolta’ sees the narrator giving a loved one a Minolta-branded camera so they can document all the good things she knows is going to happen to them, in order for her to share those experiences even when she’s not there. The nostalgia is also present on ‘Monticello’ as she dwells bittersweetly on old memories, and it seeps into the more present gratitude of ‘Rose Color’, while ‘Owe You One’ throws us into a vignette of tension and conflict with a bid for peace.

Throughout ‘Soon Enough’, we find Erin coming to terms with certain truths of life and maturing and evolving via her realizations. For example, beauty and acceptance underpin the good wishes to a dying grandfather in ‘Sleep Away’, where others might find themselves distraught, confused and lost. She examines a person’s reclusiveness in ‘Futile Attempts’ but ultimately comes to the conclusion that her efforts are useless, while ‘Pretty Thing’ feels like one of her most complete realizations. “You can make a pretty thing out of anything you know, it may take a while sometimes to let the pretense go, but if he ain’t too stubborn, and you set your mind you’ll see, you can make a pretty thing out of anything you know,” Erin sings on the track, detailing various instances when single acts of kindness and innocence set the world to rights, if just for a minute.

This is an album where the magic is in the detail and the nuance. For the most part the music is kept slow and gentle, effortlessly understated, while Erin’s vocals pierce through and touch the hearts of all who listen. She has a way with words and a sense of wonderment rarely matched as she discovers the world through the eyes of someone experienced and weary yet still wildly young and impressionable. Life does not get her down, and the stories she tells, albeit melancholic and bittersweet at times, have a joy and a comforting simplicity that serve to accompany the warmth of her voice well.

And you’ll be able to hear it, Soon Enough.

Originally posted here.