Elaine Rasnake / Breathe Again / May 1, 2018
RIYL: The Postal Service, Waxahatchee
Sometimes when one person makes a record–I mean the ENTIRE record, from songwriting to mixing and mastering–you can sort of make out their fight with themselves as you listen. You can hear where something is maybe a little overthought. This is not a record like that.
Elaine Rasnake, who was the first woman to graduate from Bloomsburg University with a degree in audio/video production, created the excellent Breathe Again completely on her own terms, writing all songs, playing every instrument on the record, and produced, mixed, and mastered it herself. (Rasnake’s engineering/mastering credit can also be found on a lot of records coming out of Philly lately.)
And damn, it’s gorgeous. Rasnake harmonizes with herself so beautifully, turning songs about love, heartbreak, and rumination into full-scale compositions. Take “Anywhere,” which begins with a beautiful chorus of “whoa-oh”s, adds hand claps, beautiful clear guitar with chord progression that calls back to doo-wop songs, and ends with a simple, almost naked “and I will go anywhere with you.”
There’s beautiful space-holding on this record, and all these elements ebb and flow well throughout. Some songs (see “Wildfire”) are sparser than others; bigger productions like “Spacesuit” include really nice synth tones and some lovely echo on relatable vocals.
End-to-end, this record feels like a letter to someone, a place to put future convictions, a turning point. “So I’ll be bold and daring like I promised to / yeah I’ll stay bold and daring like I promised you,” she sings to close the record on “Breathe Again.” the title track. Promise kept.
“Breathe Again” is out on May 1. Listen to the whole thing above, or pre-order it on bandcamp. You can see Rasnake tonight in Ambler at Forest & Main Brewing Company; tomorrow at Fergie’s Pub in Philly (for an animal sanctuary benefit!); and at Good How Are You Fest from May 10-12. Later she’ll be on tour with Kate Dressed Up; check FB for those dates.