Rachel Collis has been garnering a lot of well-deserved attention left of the dial in the last five years, and in her latest collection of studio tracks, titled Mayfly, she proves to be the skilled storyteller and songstress that many of us have been searching for in the latter half of the 2010s. Steeped in organic tonality and unfiltered emotion, Mayfly slides into focus on the back of a dark swing ballad “Dandelion” and glides through a trio of emotive experiments in traditional themes ala “A Good Woman,” “Take This Shame” and “Siren” that will pose countless poetic questions whilst evoking a bevy of vivid lyrical imagery, and that’s all before we even reach the halfway mark in the tracklist.
Collis takes a freeform approach to prose in her most recent offering, and in songs like “Don’t Say Goodnight (featuring Tim Bruer),” “These Times” and the poppy “Flash Flood,” we’re given access to the most relentless vocal harmonies of her career to date. She’s in love with the strings that dot the sonic landscape of this record, and they show her a lot of affection back in “Loving You,” “Beside My Ordinariness” and “A Good Woman.” You can tell that she’s been cultivating this relationship with her craft for a lot of years, as her dedication is bringing a beautiful aesthetic to life before our very ears in Mayfly.
Instrumentally, “In the Stillness,” “Just Like Elvis,” and “Take This Shame” affected me the most of anything on this LP, and not solely on the strength of their compositional intricacies. The master mix layers all of the components in these songs – from the basslines to the guitars and even the occasional glimmer of a fleeting piano’s cry – in such a seamless fashion that we’re always able to discern where one instrumental melody ends and another begins. It’s terrific work from behind the soundboard, and ironically, it deserves just as much credit for the chill factor in Mayfly as the actual material from Rachel Collis does. Her earliest rookie releases had all the right ingredients to be a classic intro and had they boasted this polished production quality, they might have become as big a smash as I think this record ultimately will be.
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If this is the standard that Rachel Collis is setting for herself moving forward, then I cannot wait to hear more of her work as the years go by. She’s a force of nature in Mayfly; her voice is angelic, and the music supporting her is supremely stylized and multifaceted from top to bottom. It’s a bit more indulgent than what we’ve heard from her in the past, but let it be known that, as far as I’m concerned, Collis is finally sounding like the unparalleled pro that she always has been in this LP, and she’s setting the bar quite high for her peers both in and outside of the vocal pop genre.