Ruby Fray 4A few months ago, Emily Beanblossom – aka Ruby Fray – released her sophomore album, Grackle. It is a stark but tantalizing album that sees the Austin-based singer songwriter / Olympia, Washington native strike heavy chords that are not for the faint of heart. Her style is unique and difficult to qualify, although it has been labeled “psychedelic witch wave” for its gloomy, eerie qualities and Beanblossom’s use of the synthesizer to add an extra dimension to the music.

But if looking for comparisons, some have described Beanblossom as a darker version of Lana Del Rey, and there are some of similarities since both artists take a low-key, understated approach to their vocals. Her style, however, is probably more closely aligned to UK great Kate Bush, who had an impeccable knack for creating brooding, dark, and cinematic music. Another comparable would be Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee, who is noted for her honest and visual songwriting that can be at times dark and haunting.

Fray’s approach is similar to the latter two great artists. Take, for instance, the album’s lead single, “Barbara”, which is a daunting yet mesmerizing tune. It pulsates with a throbbing rhythm section while Fray sings with a frail, lost voice. “Anthony” is even more haunting with Fray bellowing in the background, giving the feeling of one being lost in a haunted house or maybe the mind of David Lynch.

But the album isn’t completely stark. “It’s Mine” is still retains the album’s hallow nature, but it veers closely to the complex and haunting indie rock of Richard Swift. “Carry Me Down” comes closest to the fervent pop of Del Rey and the lush and dramatic style of Marissa Nadler. It is the album’s best track – a dissonant, striking track with catchy, dreamy arrangements.

Grackle is an album that should be heard by all. It’s not the most accessible album – it’s a challenging yet fantastic album, whose beauty resides in the complex, and bone-chilling arrangements and Beanblossom’s haunting but deliriously captivating vocals.

Grackle can be purchased at K’s webstore, iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. The video for “Barbara” is below along with two other, audio tracks – “You Should Go” and “Photograph”. And if you’re wondering what Beanblossom likes to do in her spare time, she enjoys gardening, making soap, playing music with friends, worrying about the future, making margaritas, and swimming, so she does like sunny days and the smaller things that make life to be enjoyed.
Facebook – Ruby Fray
Twitter – @rubyfray


Photos by Sarah Cass

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