Boomkat Product Review:
Sweetly knackered avant-pop songs from R. Elizabeth, pursuing the styles of her sold-out tape for Where To Now? with a charmingly puckered sound tripping from wistful tape fuck-abouts to prim pop and elegant downstrokes
“R. Elizabeth is the recording name of London-based artist and academic Rachael Finney. Every And All We Voyage On is her solo recording project’s second full length and is a focused distillation of her practice in sound art and her knack for pop minimalism. It follows a long sold out release on Where To Now? Records and a prolonged period in which she concentrated on artist residencies exploring her interest in recorded sound and voice. Immediate and natural, Every And All We Voyage On manages to sound joyful while tackling complex themes, handling everything with an improvisatory touch. The songs are full of air and light; infectious, melodic and off-the-cuff.
Recorded using a single 80s Casio keyboard, reel-to-reel tape manipulation, piano and vocal, Finney’s practice with R. Elizabeth belies a studious attention to detail. Her academic work is often focused on analysing sounds – particularly voice and language – divorced from meaning and R. Elizabeth challenges the listener with overtly emotional tropes: sweeping portmento lap-steel guitar keyboard tones on Back From Ten suggest a nostalgic melancholy when it intersects with the narrator closing her eyes, realising she has nothing left to give. The lilting vocal cloaked in reverb is disarming, with an almost child-like surrender to the undertow of the song. On Tragedy And Trade there’s a rough grace to the mixing with visceral, manipulated tape sounding like the artists’ hands are literally in the speakers wrenching the melodies in mid-air. When it intersects with chants about the “gaps and the silences” it has an eerie, hauntological effect. R. Elizabeth is constantly playing with sound and song: a Wonderland of perceived emotion, the listener’s perception of what they’re hearing constantly in flux, it’s deceptively simple and deserving of repetitive listening.”