Reviews

Rachael Dadd
Flux

(Memphis Industries)

8/10

English experimental folk artist Rachael Dadd returns with her sixth studio album, Flux – a record of twists and turns and unexpected treasures. Produced with Marcus Hamblett (Villagers, Laura Marling), Flux is Dadd’s first full-band record, and also features collaborators including Kate Stables and Rozi Plain of This Is The Kit.

It’s a record full of bold, literate folk songs, playing with experimental instrumentation and variation in style. ‘Two Islands’ blends merry brass with banjo; ‘Animal’ is warmly familiar with picked acoustic guitar; ‘Language of Water’ starts as a calculated piano ballad, built upon with oboes and jazz drumming. A constant force throughout the record is Dadd’s vocals, delicate and immaculate, with a soft, understated power reminiscent of Aldous Harding.

The record also dares to address the current political climate. On ‘Cut My Roots’ she considers the question “In our hearts, can we always be free?”. As a British citizen with a Japanese husband, and living half of her life as a travelling musician in Japan, issues of residency and citizenship are material and immediate for Dadd. The song was written “to stand up for our collective liberties” against rising nationalism and white supremacy. It is instantly memorable as a syncopated swing number, but the power of the song is found in the lyrics that blend sharp realism with traditional folk sentiment. “My love is from another land,” she sings. “So we never settle down/ And if my country says no/ We will be ready to go”.

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