CD, Strater Records, 2007
Steeped in seedy, resonant strings and pattering drums, with coldly processed vocals and minimalist bass, Rachel Car’s self-titled effort presses into electroclash but recalls a new wave legacy reminiscent of The Heads or Tom Tom Club. It veers on the light snack side of things sonically, but in terms of songwriting and feel, it’s coolly elegant and fun.
Starting with the nervy, digitalist “Tell Her,” well constructed if ambiguous lyrics swell above the restrained and quietly catchy instrumentation, while “Movin On” breaks out into infectious rhythms textured with warbling leads and guitar-echoing 80s electro-funk. While the sound set in play is particularly chilly and clinical, the music and words themselves are innately strong and warm, and it’s this contrast that makes the release worth revisiting a couple of times.
Engaging, Blondie-esque affectation takes Rachel Car’s vocals more into the disc as she hints at vamp-attitude and sexy self-awareness, but filtered from a modern studio perspective. The only let-down in this sense is “Somebody Else,” which breaks from these delightful bonds into live-bass and dry hip hop percussion that seems to weaken this perspective. At her very best, Rachel Car delivers pop-directed personal vocals with soul and intimacy behind the strangest veneer of cold musical glass – it’s oddly beautiful and worth turning to.
— James Ryan