Release Date: October 16, 2016
Rachel is the debut release of Brooklyn transplant and Seattle native McClain Sullivan. This seven track album is what I would expect Amy Winehouse to drop if she were still around today. These songs are equal parts sultry and sassy and make for a very easy listen. I would be shocked if McClain Sullivan does not find commercial success with the lead single “Happy Anniversary”.
The aforementioned single “Happy Anniversary” is a storming track. It opens the album with the aggressive tenor of Ani DiFranco mixed with the swagger of Har Mar Superstar. The pinnacle of the song is the bridge when McClain starts to scat. It’s a bold move to spout non-syllables for close to 30 seconds, but it really works. The fact that she is using it to signify a discussing during a relationship that seems to be souring is altogether perfect. This song is everything that is right about Jazz and R&B and belongs on the radio.
The rest of the record is very solid but doesn’t quite hold up to the standard set by the opener. “Cool Enough” starts as a slowly drifting pop song before the horns kick in. While the horns are playing the song has a strong 70’s vibe. “My Bad” is another song that kicks a cool 70’s vibe with an organ riff that is something special. “Another Mistake” and “Daylight” are both solid jazzy ballads, but don’t really align themselves to my tastes. Rachel as a whole kind of reminds me of a guitar driven version of Koufax’s Social Life.
McClain Sullivan’s debut is a nice mix of Jazz, Pop & R&B with an emphasis on the Jazz. Fans of Erykah Badu, Corinne Baily, Sarah Vaughn or the aforementioned Winehouse and DiFranco will find themselves another friend here. Check this record out and get ready for the next female jazz-pop star.
Reviewed by: Rob 1340