Freeflowing, Bohemian Soul….Corrine Bailey Rae is just one of the handful of artists who are mastering and embracing this concept, and in turn re-defining popular music. Her latest effort, The Heart Speaks In Whispers, rises out of the ashes like a phoenix, while transporting you to an otherworldly plane of existence. Her last album 2010’s, The Sea took a much more remorseful, darker tone…as it was written after the untimely death of her then-husband, Jason Rae. In Whispers, you can actually hear where she had to dig deep out of the rubble of pain and sadness in order to get through to the light. There’s a sense of optimism that spreads throughout this entire album, relying on the belief that things can and will get better, even in the wake of tragedy.
On this album, Rae’s voice is mixed with equal parts vulnerability, yet strength; innocence, yet knowledge. Add to that the sonically lush levels of production by the members of the group KING, and you have a sound that not only compliments Rae’s voice, but also shows her versatility. Unlike that of her previous albums, Whispers’ focuses moreso on “the groove,” and keeping it perfectly aligned with Rae’s vocals. It is in this space that she is truly in her element, and it shines boldly through on each and every track….The album’s opener, “The Skies Will Break,” a swirling combination of both acoustic guitar stylings and electronic synth takes several directions in its under 5-minute destination. “Tell Me” takes on a more bass-heavy, mainstream sound that is a bit of a departure from Rae’s normal folksy-soulful repertoire. Despite the change, her sound doesn’t at all seem lost in a new direction, but rather, comfortable and fearless with experimentation. “Green Aphrodisac” has a sultry, old-school vibe, reminiscent of a soulful 70’s groove that is infectious to the listen. In this track, Rae’s voice soars to the moon and back, showcasing her unique range; making this a track worthy of repeat status.
(This article originally appeared on Harmonious Flame )