War

She is We     War      Vanguard Records

She is We is the new project from former He is We vocalist Rachel Taylor. This her debut album, recorded for the artist-centric Vanguard label (Collective Soul, Flogging Molly, Widespread Panic, etc.), and comes on the heels of the momentum of her former band. Having never really paid much attention to He is We, I wasn’t sure entirely what to expect here but Taylor knocks it out of the park, offering a batch of Pop-centric tunes with an Alternative Rock edge and a set of lyrics that are about as raw as they come lyrically but plenty smooth musically.

As with any great album, the opening track sets the bar extremely high. The bouncy, New Wave influence of “Boomerang” is a spectacular track. The gentle synths and head boppin’ cadence of the vocals make it danceable and fun but the lyrically biting, explosive chorus seals the deal. “Crazy Heart” has a similar New Wave edge but it’s much more anthemic. It’s the kind of song you fall in love with immediately if you like any kind of Pop music at all. “Blue” is another highlight for me. Taking a darker turn, the song really spotlights Taylor’s strong vocal work, letting the music take a back seat also gives it a more cinematic feel. Her vocals are particularly soulful and intimate on songs like “Blue,”  “War” and the uplifting power anthem “Lead the Fight On” and, for me, this is very much an album driven by the vocals and lyrics.

War is as smart vocally and lyrically as any Pink album but has just enough edge to appeal to fans of Alternative Rock and New Wave. Taylor manages to take a style of music known for its shallowness and give it some depth. If you enjoy anything from Pink to Prides to Lights then you should definitely check out She is We’s War.

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