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Live Review: Rae Morris @ The Lexington, 27/02/14

It’s fair to say Blackpool lass Rae Morris has had a rollercoaster couple of years – signing to Atlantic at the tender age of 18, she has gone on to release three EPs and has since toured with the likes of Lianne la Havas, Tom Odell and Noah and the Whale.

Her impressive resumé was this year heightened by the release of Bombay Bicycle Club‘s fourth album So Long, See You Tomorrow which features Morris’ vocal talents, including an appearance on current single ‘Luna‘.

Armed with a newly-appointed full band, more hair and atmospheric backings, last night saw Rae Morris charm a sold-out Lexington crowd.

Darkness fell as a coy Morris walked onto the stage to the backing of Phosphorescent’s ‘Song for Zula’. Humbly taking to her seat, proceedings began with the piano-led ‘Grow’; Rae’s honeyed vocals complimented delightfully by the subtle percussive backing of a new band. These minimal changes, captivating from the offset are a promising sign of the upcoming release of Morris’ debut album.

Her unwavering, honeyed vocals impress through new song, ‘My God’, with the welcome addition of Bombay Bicycle Club-esque percussive backing.

Endearingly humble, Morris took a moment to thank the crowd, in somewhat disbelief that anyone showed up. Portraying an instant charm in her nervous stage banter and broad Northern accent, Morris stared longingly into the admiring crowd.

The orchestral openings of ‘Way Back When’ are followed by rapturous applause, with its ever-haunting atmospherics before outing a new song, ‘Closer’. A stark contrast to her early workings, it pays homage to the work of Ariel Rechtshaid, not dissimilar to the production evident throughout Haim’s debut.

Once more giving thanks, the band departed for a solo performance of ‘Don’t Go’ – the track that propelled Morris into the spotlight back in 2012 when chosen to close the final ever episode of hit TV show Skins. Simple yet effortlessly beautiful, her sincere smoky vocals transfix throughout.

The soaring ‘This Time’ saw the return of the band, erupting into crescendo with Morris claiming “this time, I’ll hold on,” yet falling beautifully to her trademark stripped back workings.

Seamless vocals and twinkling keys mark recent single, ‘Skin’, the lighting perfectly timed to the piercing beats and ticking effects. Its whirring ending leads into ‘For You’, before closing with new song and upcoming single, ‘Do You Even Know’. Despite the few minor technical glitches, the heavily produced track – with its pounding drums and electric riffs – marks an exciting promise for upcoming material.

“Hi, are you sure this is okay? Thank you so much,” a shy Morris whispers as she returned to the stage for an encore. A lone light cast behind her slight figure, accompanied by her trusty piano for the hushed ‘Not Knowing’. The perfect end to a simply sublime set.

- Hannah Daisy

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