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Madrid City in English
Tuesday 21st of November 2017
Russell Parton 1301 4th of January 2013 by editor 4th of January 2013
Rachel Zeffira

The Deserters Universal

Canadian soprano and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Zeffira is better known as half of Cat’s Eyes, her project with Horrors’ front man Faris Badwan. But while the duo’s début album, Congratulations, was deeply indebted to 60s girl-groups, Zeffira’s first solo effort, The Deserters, is a different affair: introspective and ethereal, melancholy yet strangely soothing. The opening number (which is also the title track) contains a mixture of gentle pulses and rippling woodwind runs that sets the quasi-classical tone, and throughout there’s the constant push and pull between instruments, each daring the other with far out and complex rhythmical patterns. Zeffira’s aloof vocals are recorded close up but with an all-pervading reverb, the effect both ghostly and dreamy, while her lyrics impose a Gothic sadness and the pop structures give order to the bubbling baroque instrumentation. In one of the more haunting tracks, “Waiting For Sylvia”, Zeffira conveys a simple, open-ended image: two people, who walk in silence together along the bank of a river, are both thinking of someone called Sylvia. It’s a moment of drama below the surface, an idea of a secret truth to which Zeffira returns several times and which finds resonance in the album’s brilliant and enigmatic string and brass arrangements.

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