We first caught wind of local singer-songwriter Rachel Andie and her band The Fifth Element earlier this year when they were one of a handful of Philly artists to enter NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest. Andie performed “Astral Projection,” a song off her 2016 concept album The Common Calamity, for that entry, but now she’s back with a brand new album, Tu Me Manques. The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has been making music solo for a few years, but this is her first release with her full band, a six-piece alt-folk outfit of fellow local musicians and educators (Andie herself is an elementary school music teacher by day).
The phrase Tu Me Manques, French for “I miss you,” is a relatively simple sentiment that Andie interprets with deeper nuance throughout the 11-track album, as overarching themes of memory and loss weave her songs into an intricate narrative. She sings in Japanese and English on the haunting lead single “Waves” in honor of her mother, and embraces a poppier sound with the catchy, five-minute “Before I Sleep.” Other tracks range from soft and meandering to bright and upbeat as the songwriter explores the passage of time and the implications of change. Often this comes through best with Andie’s vivid associations with nature, as she shares observations on everything from birds to seasons; on “A Stone” she captures the essence of it all with the line “Cause day after day this earth crumbles & is born again / And like the waves & the weeds tumble / Just remember, you are free my friend.”
Listen to Tu Me Manques in full below via Bandcamp. In 2019, Rachel Andie plans to release a full-length visual album produced by Skyler Jenkins Films to accompany the record. Rachel Andie & The Fifth Element play a record release show at Boot & Saddle on December 28; find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar.
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