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Corinne Bailey Rae - The Sea

Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

CORINNE Bailey Rae’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to her 2006 debut is a welcome return… assured, often beautifully delivered and an appealing mix of after-hours folk and upbeat funk.

It arrives almost two years since the singer lost her husband to a methadone overdose and is, perhaps, reflective of that loss in places.

On a slow-burning track like I’d Do It All Again, for instance, Rae sounds as sad as she does resolute, especially early on.

That dusky reflection is also evident on tracks such as Diving For Hearts and Love’s On Its Way… the latter of which offers a faint but powerful hope that love might prevail over the world’s ills.

It’s the type of song that invites the listener to properly sit back and take notice of what it has to say… and it’s one of the slow-burning, folksy highlights.

Admittedly, however, most of the album’s finest moments come from the more funkier offerings, when Rae’s honey-dewed vocals really get chance to shine and bring some sunshine.

Album opener Are You Here, for instance, finds her dropping an innocent and totally loveable vocal to accompany the folksy guitar licks and mid-tempo pacing of the song, while on Paris Nights/New York Mornings there’s a celebratory breeziness to a tale that whisks you from the illuminated sidewalks of Europe to the early morning cafes of the Big Apple. It’s an easy favourite.

Earlier, there’s a mix of foreboding percussion and dusky jazz that makes Feels Like The First Time the type of song that intriguingly trades danger with excitement.

And there’s easy going pleasantry to be found on songs like I Would Like To Call It Beauty and The Sea – the latter, in particular, reverting back to the child-like innocence of the opening song.

One last highlight, however, is the funky Paper Dolls, which properly finds Rae cutting loose and having some fun.

The Sea isn’t without flaws and sometimes appears to be coasting… but it’s a firm reminder of Rae’s talents that should elevate her back into the public embrace once more. She’s worth taking home.

Download picks: Are You Here, Feels Like The First Time, The Sea, Paper Dolls, Paris Nights/New York Mornings

Track listing:

  1. Are You Here
  2. I’d Do It All Again
  3. Feels Like The First Time
  4. Blackest Lily, The
  5. Closer
  6. Love’s On Its Way
  7. I Would Like To Call It Beauty
  8. Paris Nights/New York Mornings
  9. Paper Dolls
  10. Diving For Hearts
  11. Sea, The