There’s something intriguing about Rachael Yamagata. On one level, with lyrics that are at turns cryptic and starkly confessional, she reflects qualities consistent with that of an archetypical singer/songwriter. On another, she’s got a bold streak, and in her songs she increasingly challenges herself to find new ways to broaden the scope of her musical expression.
On her third full-length album to date, Chesapeake (scheduled for release on October 11), Yamagata continues to exhibit and explore these two strands of her artistry. It's the follow-up to her ambitious 2008 double-LP, Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart, on which she expanded upon the often-sullen, piano-based template of her 2004 solo debut, Happenstance, to embrace richer textures and — by introducing her own experiments on the electric guitar to her sound — an unmistakable edge.
With Chesapeake she branches out even further, drawing on elements of rock and jazz, in particular, while maintaining an integral if not altogether dominant presence on the piano. One of the album's most brazen tracks, "Starlight," is available now as a free download.
Yamagata will embark on an extensive tour in support of the new album, beginning on October 24 in Portland.
First published as Rachael Yamagata Previews Upcoming LP & Tour with New Song (MP3) on Blogcritics.