CD REVIEW: Rachel Lynn Sebastian - Raven Heart
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Alternative Rock, Dance Pop. Psychedelic Soul
Weakness: More solo segments, A few winded Songs, more vocal harmonies
(LOS ANGELES) Rachel Lynn Sebastian & Bryan Lettner's collaboration album features 12 powerful songs with 18 months of writing and studio time, $21k in production quality and LOTS of LOVE. This highly anticipated sophomore album “Raven Heart” showcasing a powerful organic gypsy-soul-rock sound and featuring the artist's undeniable vocal prowess and range. This is the most sophisticated, entertaining and emotional songwriting in a single body of work.
The CD takes flight with “Happy” a psychedelic ditty with methodical intro that serves up impassioned vocal feel from Sebastian with impressive vocal harmonies, melodic musical touches against a grand slam chorus. Track 2 “Never Enough” downshifts a bit with its methodical piano driven intro eventually lending itself into an impressive “Gold Standard” ballad that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Crazy-Crazy-Crazy” keeps thing moving in the right direction with its infectious melody, steady flowing rhythm, impressive chorus, and a good heartfelt/thought provoking message. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 solid tracks in a row. I would classify this music as Alternative Rock, with a dash of Electronic Pop. Also present are unique elements of what I would call Alternative-Psychedelic Soul. All in all the CD touches a wide range of musical styles. Besides the four piece standard you will notice impressive instrumentation with things like impressive strings, guitar, Piano, Organ, sporadic keyboard and synth accents, well-placed harmonies, dynamic electronic based drums all built upon a solid moog driven rhythm section to boot. The musicianship and musical touches from Sebastian are clearly above the bar. As for her vocal abilities, it works extremely well within the confines of this catalogue. She’s got a good look, a catchy mystique and knows how to sit deep within the pocket and sing a song with amazing vocal fluidity. Sebastian has soul. Her voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with an infectious jagged edge. She’s got a good vibrato and impressive Mezzo Soprano. Sebastian showcases an impressive falsetto and has much to offer insofar as power, control and finesse. As a songwriter: the songwriting consistent and rock solid across the board. The harmonies and melodies are well placed and well crafted. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. This 12 track offering from Sebastian is rock solid and delivers everything you would expect from a top-tiered musical Production such as this providing much in the way of musical variety and melodic layering. It definitely offers has a lot of musical depth and variety within the sonic space. Her music reminds me of a combination between trippy and psychedelic Portishead, and Amy Winehouse. Other comparisons include: Sara Bareilles, Pink, Kelly Clarkston, Pink, Gwen Stefani, The Cardigans, Tori Amos, Melanie C, Dido, Sophie B. Hawkins, Lana Del Rey. All songs are well crafted and consistent across the board. From epic ”Oh, Spirit” to methodical title track to rock steady “It’s Me” to invigorating “Faithful Sunshine” to spicy “Sunday Night Fever” to rocking “Nothing Human” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12 “Forty Nights” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
I wish there were more solo segments throughout the catalog. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Track 4 is way too long. I wish the kick drum had more low end frequency. I wish I heard more vocal harmonies from Sebastian.
From start to finish “Raven Heart” by Rachel Lynn Sebastian delivers the mojo and is a fully loaded 12 Track release from start to finish. The music is diverse, grooving, upbeat, soulful and sonically entertaining. The songwriting – all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. The writing, playing and singing abilities of Sebastian is highly marketable. Her overall persona and mainstream mystique is something millions of people should gravitate towards.
Cyrus Rhodes Rhodes