Rachel James

Rachel James
Self-released

Take a guitar part that sounds so clean it might as well be a synth. No need for the actual thing, though, because next you dab on some aching piano tinkling, written by someone not just classically trained, but classically inspired. Stick those in the plateaus between walls made of Prowess Studio's kitchen sink: There are immaculate power chords and arena drum parts where snare and bass hits come in heavy pairs, plus a little nifty knob-fiddling. Finally, the icing: Rachel James and her baubles of voice, sweet even on the supposed rockers, Auto-Tuned only a couple times, because that's what the kids dig. Her bio says she's more Janis than Avril, but that's exactly wrong: She's Avril plus maturity and earnestness. Which is only worth pointing out because the Avril fans are getting a little older, too, and James is just the thing for them.

 
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