Rachel Ana Dobken’s new LP “When It Happens To You” wastes no time in drawing listeners’ attention with the whine of a bluesy guitar in “Intro.” This intro sets the stage for the complex soundscape Dobken crafts throughout the album.
Her vocals layer brightness over a weighty rhythm section and intricate guitar picking, marrying rock and jazz into a hypnotic experience in “Belief Beneath.” Dobken employs the vocal acrobatics of your favorite pop songs, the sincere lyricism of folk, and cradles them in rock ballad instrumentation. Especially in her song “Us,” with plenty of ambient and shoegaze-y reverb, her music at once demands your focus and induces a very welcome sense of calm.
Tapering from the earlier songs’ density, “When It Happens to You” progresses into a silky smooth weariness reminiscent of Norah Jones in “Understand” and “Everbody Wants.” Her narratives are as universal as they are poignant, and are skillfully told with the aid of an array of exceedingly talented guitarists, bassists, and brass musicians.
Dobken’s album is, in a word, sophisticated, and is a promising glimpse at the anthems to come from her and her brilliant band. Check her out on social media for upcoming music and shows!
xo Sarvani Ramcharran