Record Review: Rose Polenzani

Rose Polenzani
The Rabbit
Somerville, MA

“Songs like prayers”

With a voice that could sing the devil to sleep, and an unparalleled ear for melody and harmony, it’s no surprise that Rose Polenzani’s latest record The Rabbit is stunning. Polenzani’s songs are the closest thing to prayer: graceful verses, holy arrangements, quiet refrains, and some of the best writing to come out of the Boston singer/songwriter scene in years.

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The songstress’ newest offering since 2008’s When The River Meets The Sea, The Rabbit is an album that begs to be first experienced in one sitting. The 13 songs feel cyclical; the order in which they’re presented seems purposeful. That each song is its own quiet mystery, four minutes of wonder, is the best testament to Polenzani’s artistry. A song like “Living in a Country,” with haunting, pleading vocals and defamiliarizing lyrics offers something new to its listener every time. All of these songs do. Other highlights, on a record consisting solely of standout tracks, include a lush piano ballad (“Old Woman”), the Hem-esque “Dead Rabbit,” and the ukulele-driven “The Blue Seed.” The Rabbit feels like a soundtrack for empty forests in fall, music for dreams where woodland creatures turn animate.

Polenzani’s songs are inventive and playful, and her knack for capturing the human condition is never compromised by her creativity. The studio band is a patchwork of Boston’s finest musicians, another of the record’s blessings. For these reasons and so many more, The Rabbit is simply a must for any fan of great music. (Self-released)

Produced by Rose Polenzani

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