Irene Rae is a powerfully honest and delicate singer-songwriter with an overwhelming passion for her work and the deft touch to make her thoughts and dreams a reality. She has toured the length and breadth of the country over the years and has one album and three EPs to her name but this month saw the release of her first ever full band album, The Light Game.
The Light Game is the aural equivalent of setting off fireworks in your mind. As you sit back and let Rae’s powerful and yet charming voice wash over you a peaceful darkness swallows you and as her gentle piano keys are struck together with her earnest vocals it’s a light show in your mind. Her performances are some of the most fiercely evocative as she melts her soft and honeyed voice into a beautiful collection of jazz infused folk melodies rife with jubilant piano medleys and soulful guitar melodies that rock you like a cradle. Rae blends her music that way those in the business of decades can sometimes lack; it’s an almost effortless charm that she exudes with her confidence and prowess and makes her one of the most powerful young artists on the scene today.
Rae has no qualms about surrounding herself with fantastic music and she never seems to settle into one genre or element for long. Her main body of work has a jazz sentiment and yet songs such as Love Me So seem to stitch together folk and prog to bring to life something new and exciting. It’s these musical rifts that she creates that make her such a fascinating performer to watch. The light game plays tricks on your mind as it flits about like fireflies, one moment uplifting and joyous and the next it’s dark, sultry and mysteriously haunting. Throughout it all though Rae’s voice rings out like a siren in the night. Her soft lullaby lilt is amplified by the raw power with which she brings it into the world. In the song Skipping Stone Rae sings about the mistakes that she has made but as you play out the delicate undulations of The Light Game and let her swirling words craft the images before you it’s impossible to feel like she could ever actually make a mistake.
The Light Game is an indelible and beautiful album that plays on your thoughts and emotions as it washes over you with a mesmerising colour swatch that can only be evoked by Rae’s own tender work.
Review by Joe Knipe