Monday, March 4, 2013
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: RACHEL ZEFFIRA - THE DESERTERS
Except, it isn't that awful Three Tenors or whatever, doing operatic versions of Tin Pan Alley songs in tuxedos. Zeffira is breaking interesting new ground. Classically trained, she also comes from the indie alternative world. Her compositions are pop songs that she's decided to put strings on. Instead, they've been arranged for orchestral players right from the start, with no rock instruments to be heard, no acoustic guitars, and any percussion is part of the score, not for time-keeping. Each song is vocal, she has intriguing, mysterious stories to tell, and the melodies are quite modern and edgy. Her voice has a bit of a choir soloist sound to it, but it's coming from a foggy place, a dream scape. There's no mistaking this for anything but 21st century music.
The song are beautiful, and surprisingly edgy. Zeffira understands the layers of ambiance that mean as much to the sound as the instruments, and has a few tricks of her own, too. I like that church organ that takes up a groove in one song. I can't say I've heard anyone quite like her, and if she can lead others to more orchestration, lead on.