“Here we sit and have a conversation…” Rebecca Blasband serenades in the title track of her new album Here, and the very nature of the verse itself summarizes the tone of the record quite exquisitely. Here is a treasure chest of conversations that Blasband has with her audience, who have patiently waited for a release of this magnitude from the singer/songwriter since her debut album RAPT. Jazz rhythms and stylish rock melodies war with each other in understated discord as we embrace such tracks as “Fool’s Heaven,” “Who the Hell is Peter Brown?” and the jarring “Gotta Work It Out,” and anyone who ever had the inclination that Blasband was anything other than a master of her craft is effectively silenced by the time we finish sampling from all that this LP brings to the table.

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VIDEO PRESS KIT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3xQBD4SoNg&feature=youtu.be

Fierce female vocalists are the backbone of contemporary rock music, and in the rough and tumble ballad “Ghost Story,” Blasband asserts herself as a shaman of much more than soft harmonies with smart lyrics. She confidently unearths deeply personal admissions and puts them on full display in songs like this one, “Target” and “Those Happy Days.” We get the full scope of her emotionality with Here, but unlike similarly styled releases of her peer group the substance of these tracks doesn’t revolve around exploiting her perspective alone. The narratives are as observational as they are intimate and unique to her own perspective, making insular tunes like “Long Distance Love Affair” unbelievably relatable despite their shredding abstractness.

You can tell from the get go that Blasband is being real with us in this record, as she never makes any attempt to cloud her transmissions with a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles. The guitar play in this album (as well as piano-driven melodies like those in “Love Is”) is divinely rich and rigid, and by that I mean that we can essentially feel the vibration of the notes as if we were sitting right in front of the band. The mix compliments the somewhat fluid style of attack used by both Blasband and her collaborators, and instead of competing for our attention they all come together to create a single tour de force that is as euphonious as a seasoned symphony orchestra.

Elegantly produced and smoothly executed by its players, Here is an enormous breakthrough for Rebecca Blasband, who after two decades of anticipation delivers us the successor toRAPT that we had all hoped to someday hear. As she cryptically tells us in “Walking on Water,” she’s back and better than ever, evolved from her experiences and ready to embrace the full capacity of her aesthetic. The intrepid quality in this album doesn’t come from the way Blasband gets her message across to us but the context in which she presents it. All of these songs have a very homespun vibe about them, and lyrically they tend to play out more like diary entries than they do like typical pop songs. She bears everything in her soul to us with Here and comes out looking stronger and more commanding in her words than ever before.

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Sebastian Cole