Release Date: October 7, 2008
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska
Rachael Yamagata’s recent two-disc offering, Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart, is a moody but beautiful collection of songs. Split into two discs for the purpose of creating certain moods with each collection, the first disc, Elephants, is full of delicate songs which don’t become sickly sweet due in part to Yamagata’s rich and slightly gritty voice. The second disc, …Teeth Sinking Into Heart, has a completely different feel with its rock-oriented approach. Both discs are excellent, complex and a refreshing change from much of what has been released lately.
The songs from Elephants are prefect for that rainy afternoon. Yamagata’s voice floats and dips over piano and string melodies as the songs themselves build slowly. “Little Life” is one of the standouts and its bluesy sound and loping tempo display Yamagata’s vocal versatility. She sounds as much at ease singing ballads as she does singing songs influenced by jazz and blues. “Sunday Afternoon” is another excellent track with a bit of a blues as well as a country influence. While it might seem clichéd to write such a song about a failed relationship, “Sunday Afternoon” is anything but boring and trite.
Unlike the songs from the first disc, the five tracks on …Teeth Sinking Into Heart show a different side of Yamagata. Rather than rely on her most frequent musical influences, Yamagata proves that she can handle songs with a rock influence just as well. “Sidedish Friend” gets things going with tremendous energy and “Faster” is dripping with attitude and feistiness.
The great thing about Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart is the balance of softer songs and those with more edge. Yamagata displays her strengths throughout the collection and the double-disc set is a worthwhile addition to music collections.