Swirling and surreal, Rachael Lavelle’s Big Dreams is a coming of age that pokes holes in the digital, postmodern reality it exists within. Self-professed by the Dublin artist as “an introspective journey that invites the listener to ask what it means to be alive in the 21st century,” it throws you the answer in the form of another question – who knows?
Conceptually faultless from its gleaming and buoyant visuals to its unnerving dream-like soundscapes, the record is both languid and urgent. Co-produced by Lavelle alongside Ryan Hargadon, cinematic orchestral structures swathe over manipulated vocals and fragmented electronic beats on peaks like ‘Eat Clean,’ alluding by omission to the directionless search and dissatisfaction that Lavelle’s lyrics unearth: star signs, coffee orders and YouTube self-help tutorials.
It’s not all rabbit holes, though. First single ‘Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential’ calls us away from the downward spiral that is the more you look, the more you lack. A sharp pull-back to reality comes from Doireann Ní Bhriain – the voice of the Luas transport system and, on this record, a disenfranchised millennial generation – on the album’s title track. A total commitment to the bit. For a debut release, it dreams big. Addison Paterson
From the Autumn issue of The Thin Air magazine, revisit Jack Rudden’s interview with Rachael Lavelle