15 August 2012 - 0 Comments
Rhiain McGrath is demure, clothed in black with her strawberry locks pinned back, as she describes her debut EP release Heartplusmelody as a lyric-heavy ode to childhood. The sophisticated five-song study is steeped in whimsy and sweeping symphonic arrangements. Recorded in Dunedin with long-time musical collaborator Oli Wilson (The Chills, Knives at Noon), mixed and mastered by Dale Cotton (Engineer to Die! Die! Die!, The Bats, The Clean, High Dependency Unit), with a team of ‘Utter Strangers’ forming the recording band- it is being released on the 24th of August coinciding with two celebratory concerts.
McGrath had a musical upbringing, performing musical theatre, singing in church, and in her final year of high school took out the lyrics section at the nationals of Rockquest alongside Wilson. However music was put on the backburner when she began working as a legal secretary and it wasn’t until a cathartic trip to Texas that she realised she needed to follow her dreams and record and release her previously bedroom-bound songs. While in Texas she had ‘Heartplusmelody’ tattooed to her foot and that mantra is now the title of the debut release.
Rhiain’s voice alternates from beautifully sweet to expressive and strong- the reason being, perhaps, is that she draws influence from contemporary folk luminaries Joanna Newsom, Fiona Apple, and Laura Marling. There are touches of cabaret in songs like My Seafaring Man, and similarities to the frenetic recordings of Wellington musician Grayson Gilmour in closing song Delicate Souls. The centerpiece of the album is the piano driven All a Flutter featuring Wilson on keys together with Alex Vaatstra (violin/viola), Rob Burns (bass), Paul Gauvin (guitar), and Chris Butchard (drums). Rhiain says “the music is not about doing something pretty, I use my voice to portray emotions in a way that is honest and has integrity”.
Physical copies of the EP, which have been lovingly illustrated by Emma Tate will be available on bandcamp, amplifier, I-Tunes and through select independent record stores.
Rhiain and the Utter Strangers “Heartplusmelody” Release
Friday 24 August, 8:30pm. Meow Café, Wellington.
Support from Lontalius & Our Wild Lies.
Saturday 25th August, 8pm.Square Edge (47 The Square) Palmerston North.
Support from Our Wild Lies.
Heartplusmelody will be available from 24th August 2012.
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