Jordan Rakei - 'What We Call Life'

9/10

Throughout the last decade, the rise of Jordan Rakei has been a slow yet progressive one. While flying largely under the radar with his initial collections 'Cloak' and 'Wallflower' in 2016 and 2017 respectively, it was his third full-length 'Origin' that saw him noticed as the broad and vibrant name on the scene. With a distinctly unique approach to laid-back production, he has quickly become one of the most beloved artists of the moment. And now after a few years to figure out his next move, he returns with his fourth studio album 'What We Call Life', a record that aims for a more euphoric direction.

What made 'Origin' such an enticing listen was its deeply heartfelt and emotional aesthetic, permeated perfectly by Rakei's soulful voice. But for 'What We Call Life', we see him explore a more lively and glittering sound, almost veering into 80s synthpop territory in places. While this isn't much of gear change when considering the smooth and soul-infused tones of his previous work, it does feel like we are experiencing a more matured and reassured artist at the helm, someone who is ready to explore a more diverse multitude of ideas and create something that breaks him free of the shackles of his past.

In all, 'What We Call Life' makes for a wonderfully vivid and uplifting return. Swapping out the more ethereal and emotionally-charged numbers for bright and bouncing efforts gives this record a rejuvenated sound and allows us to see Jordan Rakei as someone not willing to rest on his tried and tested formula.

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