Album Review – Rachel Jr. by Thanks For Coming (2022) (Self released)

ThanksForComing

Thanks For Coming is the solo recording project of Rachel Brown, who many of you will know as one half of the Water From Your Eyes duo and this, Rachel Jr, follow up to her critically acclaimed No Problem album (2020) is released to coincide with her 25th birthday.
The quarter centennial birthday is often a time of reflection. Post University, perhaps the first time living alone, a couple of years into the work experience, maybe the first genuine heartbreak? It is a time when many look at their life and wonder when they will begin to find themselves, when many of us middle-aged cynics know that never ‘really’ happens.
Somehow Brown seems to sum up the feeling that many of us went through at such an age, in an album that stuns with a lyrical dexterity that strives to decipher the desperate unease that comes from not really belonging or having an understood purpose.
The question of not really ‘belonging’, is perfectly alluded to in the title track as Brown wonders if she is even noticed, as she repeats “I don’t feel anyone can feel my gaze’, whereas the same inabilty to make any lasting impact is seen in Hard Drive as she opines sentiments to an old friend or (most probably) lover:
you wrote me out of another chapter
how’s it living in the after?
i miss the certainty of life
Perhaps the succinct Lehigh (I Take Back What I Said About Florida), is the most telling, as she explains how she misses Florida when she goes home, but still feels compelled to moan about it when living there, explaining such self-identity purgatory as:
is it raining?
or am i crying?
do you miss me?
or are you lying?
every every every every every single time i
the plane takes off
and i go home
Of course, the other primary ponderance conveyed within the album, is perhaps concomittant to this lack of belonging, as Brown identifies the inane, self destructive ways she has tried to fill such a void or emptiness.
The ‘wrapped up’ words below, in Singular, could means casual sex or even more pertinently filling time by attending to the needs of casual friends…
just another morning all wrapped up in someone else
when all i really wanted was to find me in myself
…with the futility of such time engulfing relationships also alluded to in My Name:
call me when you’re frustrated
instead of my name
date me just for july
one whole year of pouring rain
i can’t stand to lose it
use me baby or i’m useless
i’m so tired of feeling stupid
teach me something i’m so clueless
Of course at this point, I have not really mentioned the music at all. This can happen when the lyrical briliance of a release captivates the senses. However, the music is just as beautiful and indeed essential, as a vehicle to accentuate Brown superb acumen for creating mood.
As such Brown’s laconic, causal vocals, twist in and out of various levels of emotionality, conveyed by a lo-fi, often fuzz-laden production and subtle faux jangled melodies and twang.
She seems to always find the right note, or withdraw a semi melody at just the right time, or use variable levels of obtuse to emphasis her inner turmoil. It is not a genuinely beautiful ‘sound’ but certainly one that offers it’s beauty at a holistic level.
Another superb album from a young artist, enlightened well beyond her years.

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