Noir For Rachel
(Potential Side Effects)
Turn this to 6.5 of 11
Shoegaze, Ambient
Sounds Like:
Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky
Noir For Rachel is a shoegaze/ambient project from Russia. We are not sure if this is a one-person project or not as very little is written about them (or him or her). Let us move past the trying to figure this out and concentrate on the music. Noir For Rachel has released several singles and EP’s since 2010 and have flown under the radar, perhaps that’s what they had in mind. Since they have kept things secretive, there is an intriguing aura about this project which entices us.

First off, the cover to this self-released album caught our attention. It’s nothing flashy and it’s not some extremely detailed art, it’s simply the photograph. It portrays a feeling of either loneliness or sexuality, however you see it. The cyan duotone of the photo also helps create the intriguing feel. Has the woman on the cover just taken acid or is it something more personal, who knows. The title of the album will have you believe it’s nothing to be desired.

This EP is four tracks of open-ended, trance-like shoegaze/ ambiance and it sometimes comes very close to crossing into the dreampop genre. It’s a full sounding album with decent production. The spacious music is often a bit sad and reflective. The two real let-downs on the album that help bring the rating down a bit are the synths and the cymbal use. They both seem a little too strong at times, as they can take away from the warmth and feel of the music. The repetitive use of the cymbals can be overbearing as well. Some more breakdowns perhaps could have helped make things more intriguing.

The first track “Roses” might be our favorite, the bass is played particularly well and the piano is very soothing. The breakdowns are very well timed here, creating a feeling of melancholy. “Lights” picks up the pace a bit as the bass just holds steady throughout. The synths can be a bit overbearing in the beginning, but the tempo change helps balance the song. Perhaps more soft contrasting breakdowns could help elevate this track. “Water” is another sullen instrumental that is very good, and the bass is played really well, that seems to be the one factor that holds this album together. The last cut, "Lilac" is more of the same; it’s a full bodied song with elements of shoegaze and ambiance.

Track Listing:
1. Roses – 6:43
2. Lights – 3:14
3. Water – 4:45
4. Lilac – 6:45

Our feeling is that Noir For Rachel do not break new ground, however they are worth checking out. Give them a listen as they can add a little life to your shoegaze or ambient playlists. - 2/20/2015

Standout Tracks: Roses
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