September 04, 2008

Rachael Yamagata Whets Expectation with EP

On October 7, singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata will release Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart, a double album that, based on the preview afforded by her current EP, stands to be an ambitious, compelling work. 

Comprised of four tracks, the EP reveals Yamagata as a daring artist who, rather than sticking solely to the piano-based sound that resonated so well on her 2004 debut, Happenstance, instead challenges and expands its scope. She amps up the guitars and drums, giving songs like “Accident” and “Sidedish Friend” an urgent edge. She sprawls out a 9-minute soundscape on “Sunday Afternoon” to surrealistic, almost Floydian effect. And on “Elephants,” perhaps the most striking song in this set, she discreetly plays piano as she enunciates each wordlike she’s singing through tearswhile the music ascends toward an enthralling orchestral arrangement. 

The qualities with which Rachael Yamagata distinguished herself on Happenstance are still present her sultry and visceral vocal style, her lyrics both esoteric and intimately literal, as well as her skills as a composer but as the music on this EP suggests, she’s by no means complacent with her talent. Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart may very well earn her even greater distinction.