Rachel Garlin “The State We Are In”

Independent 2021

A delightful summer EP from the multi-talented Rachel Garlin.

San Francisco singer/songwriter Rachel Garlin’s latest release is ‘The State We Are In” a delightful five song EP that comes in at just under 14 minutes but it’s a joy from start to finish. There are four excellent original songs and an acoustic cover of ‘Layla’ as the icing on the cake.

As is usual during these covid affected times, whilst Rachel recorded her vocal at home, the other instruments were recorded and produced remotely by Jonny Flaugher and the album was mixed by Veronica Ferraro in Paris! The EP has a light and crystal-clear feel, overlayed with the sound of summer.

The first song is the title track and opens with acoustic guitar and the gentle flute of David Ralicke and has a real sixties feel with some of the harmonies recalling those of the Mamas & Papas (but without the latter). There’s also some delightful tenor guitar from Brandon Walters. Written in the weeks leading up to the last American election, Garlin says ‘I wrote it in solidarity with everyone who’s been pushing for change while trying to stay balanced during the difficulty of the pandemic’. 

This is followed by ‘Late To Bloom’ which carries on the sixties feel this time with era-appropriate mellotron strings from producer Flaugher. At times Garlin’s voice has the breathy quality of sixties-era French singers such as Francois Hardy and Sylvie Vartan. The third track is ‘Some Weights Are Hard To Bear’ which has an almost bossa nova feel and once again has a nod towards the sixties. Walters’ tenor acoustic guitar is to the fore whilst giving extra texture as well as a South American lilt to the track, is Jordan Katz on horns. Next is ‘Seashells’ which also has a gentle, swaying feel to the arrangement as well as delightful harmonies from Garlin. It also features drums from Michael Jerome and bass from multi-instrumentalist Flaugher; both musicians play on all the other tracks apart from ‘Layla’. As for ‘Layla’ itself, this is basically a bonus as it’s just Garlin on vocals and acoustic guitar playing Eric Clapton’s iconic song but of course without the piano outro!

Rachel Garlin is a real polymath. She’s not only a superb singer/songwriter and guitar player, she’s also an activist and athlete – she recently appeared on American TV in NBC’s American Ninja Warrior! Hopefully she won’t neglect the singer/songwriter side of her busy life and keep delivering music like ‘The State We Are In’.

8/10
8/10

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