Delta Rae - "A Long And Happy Life"
Although yesterday's release of new EP A Long And Happy Life is Delta Rae's fifth studio release it is their first release on a major country label, having signed with Big Machine Group's Valory Music Co. imprint. Formed by siblings Brittany, Eric and Ian Hölljes alongside Elizabeth Hopkins, Mike McKee and Grant Emerson, Delta Rae originally described themselves as "Carolina Soul" and this heralds a seemingly logical progression to where this new EP leaves them.
The EP's title track opens the release and showcases the sextet at their strongest whilst conjuring up echoes of previous Gloriana releases. You can instantly see this being a very popular track during live performances, with it's sing-along gospel style chorus and infectious melody, A Long And Happy Life has fast become my favourite track from a group who sound completely at home. The gritty edge behind the vocals adds another dynamic to the track and encourages listeners to delve deeper into this EP. Definitely a stand-out moment, a perfect song to turn up loud and sing along on a summer's day.
Whilst it doesn't feel like I Moved South holds quite as much appeal as A Long And Happy Life it is however interesting to hear Brittany and Elizabeth trading lead vocals throughout the verses. Both have distinctly different tones but the combination is pleasantly surprising and crafts the backdrop to a song that has an intriguing rawness to it. It would be nice to hear the production pulled back a little as at points it comes close to overpowering the vocals and the full production sometimes feels a little unnecessary but despite this I Moved South is still definitely a track I will be returning to many times.
The mood of the EP changes with the introduction of intriguingly named penultimate number No Peace In Quiet. The stark contrast between this and the previous two tracks highlights the delicacy of No Peace In Quiet, with the main melodic lines coming courtesy of a string section and acoustic guitar for the majority of the track, it actually almost seems a shame when the drum line enters (even if it is for a relatively short section of around 30 seconds). The lyrics in this song in particular form a strong story-line and the sadness behind it all is channelled through an emotive, almost ethereal lead vocal and harmonies that fit smoothly together.
1) A Long And Happy Life
2) I Moved South
3) No Peace In Quiet
4) Ain't Love
There can be no doubt that A Long And Happy Life is a very impressive EP. Following on from their signing with Valory Music Co. it will certainly be interesting to see what Delta Rae's next full length release brings but for now I know that I will be playing this EP (and in particular the title track!) a lot. Definitely an EP to check out and a group to keep an eye on!