Welsh singer/songwriter Rebecca Jade released her debut full-length album on 1 June 2012. ‘The Distaff Muse’ is available on Magic Realism Records and provides an interesting take on Britpop-tinged guitar pop.
‘The Distaff Muse’ was written entirely by newly Walthamstow-based Rebecca Jade, and she is joined on the record by Andrew ‘OC’ Pridding, Jeremy Radway and Steve Brummell. Lyrically, ‘Echo Strikes Out Alone’ and ‘Hospital Corners’ talk about the loss of love in a long-term relationship, as felt by one of the protagonists. ‘Entirely Instrumental’ captures the mood of the album with the line “I was the only narrator / I was the sole orator / you were all entirely instrumental”. There is a sense of moving on, however, with the closing couplet of ‘Stop Gap Girls’ (“He was only ever meant to be a stop-gap”) and ‘Willow Walk’, where a haunting bass-line gives way to some nice joint vocals from Jade and Pridding to end the album on a positive note: “There’s solace in the air, and freedom from your cares…”.
Musically, fans of Britpop will find much to like here. Some of the guitar work is reminiscent of Manic Street Preachers (‘Echo Strikes Out Alone’ reminds me of ‘Horses Under Starlight’, and ‘Well’ nods towards ‘Jackie Collins Existential Question Time’), but the bass is used to balance out the pop elements with some deeper, darker undertones. Jeremy Radway adds saxophone to a couple of tracks to vary the feel of the album.
The stand-out tracks are the middle pairing of ‘You Do’ and the excellent ‘Entirely Instrumental’. The former comes in after two minutes of building guitar sound, and the latter fades out, only to reprise. This makes them the only two songs on the album to top five minutes, but rather than breaking up the pace, they add depth and variety to the shorter, more poppy songs around them. Rebecca Jade’s vocals are distinctive and make every song feel personal and invested with experience.