Rachel Fuller review

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 25 07:49:43 CST 2004

>From the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa at:

Up-and-coming Fuller a force to be reckoned with 

'Cigarettes & Housework' hardly seems an appropriate
title for a classically trained Brit's debut album.
Spoon-fed on Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy, Rachel
Fuller is far from typical. Her status as newcomer to
the pop scene belies her impressive musical resume,
which includes composing orchestral works for the
likes of the London Philharmonic at the tender age of

She also contributed arrangements for Pete Townshend's
'Lifehouse Elements' (2000), an ambitious follow-up to
the Who's 1969 rock opera, "Tommy." Most recently,
Fuller contributed vocals to the song "Touched," which
appeared on dance band Delerium's alternative album,
"Chimera" (2003). It is from this musically diverse
background that Fuller arrives on the pop scene with
"Cigarettes & Housework", an infectious offering that
fans of Sarah McLachlan, Vanessa Carlton and Dido will
surely embrace.

The title cut is a poignant, piano-driven,
introspective ballad that recalls Fuller's tumultuous
years as a teenager. Every forty-something woman can
relate to this wistful look at the passage of time.
Fuller's ethereal vocals wrap like velvet around
brooding lyrics --- at the age of 17, while working in
a crematorium, Fuller wrote her own funeral mass. The
cut is further enhanced by Townshend on acoustic
guitar and Who bassist Pino Palladino, both of whom
contribute delightful instrumentation to most of the
album's tracks.

"Eat Me" is a nod to the beloved English children's
tale, "Alice in Wonderland," and features delicious
lyrics designed to tempt the listener into Fuller's
mystical land: "There's a little box in the
corner/wrapped nicely to entice you/and draw you
in/there's a note saying 'Eat Me'/And against your
better judgment/You look inside." But, listener
beware; this track will get stuck in your mind like
the tale's infamous Cheshire cat.

The strongest cut is the upbeat calypso-laced rocker
"Into My Heart," which is hauntingly reminiscent of
The Who's "Quadrophenia" (1973) and features Townshend
on electric guitar and his younger brother Simon on
acoustic. Fuller's impeccable control of the piano is
perfectly complemented by her pristine vocals on this
cut about unrequited love that borders on obsession:
"I've carved your name/Into my heart and into my
skin/But you won't let me in/ Why do I chase you?/I
keep on hurting/But I can't erase you/ I dial your
number again and again."

The only weakness in the album is Fuller's refusal to
write about anything other than lamented love. Other
than that little glitch, "Cigarettes &Housework" is a
refreshing diversion from typical radio-friendly fare.
Not only is Rachel Fuller an up-and-coming virtuosic
singer, songwriter and musician, she is literally a
force to be reckoned with. And, having London's
Chamber and Session Orchestra on hand for a few of the
cuts doesn't hurt. You'll certainly want to add
"Cigarettes & Housework" to your permanent collection.

Vicki St. James is the mid-day on-air personality on
Mix 96.1 FM.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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