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Rachel Cion - Wanted!

Rachel Cion is a chameleonic Gen Z singer-songwriter from Olathe, Kansas. If you read this blog consistently enough, you probably know about her rock band Bigfatcat, her pop songs "Collision" and "Violin" (the latter of which deserves a place on Charli XCX's "motherfucking future" playlist), or perhaps her earlier indie folk material. Instead of retreading literally any of that ground, Rachel's latest three song EP, Wanted!, sees her stepping instead into the world of country music.

Rather than putting on a fake accent or shooting for pristine Q104- or KFKF-ready production, Wanted! is Rachel Cion making country music like Rachel Cion would make country music. By borrowing motifs from the genre both musical and lyrical and crafting the songs in her bedroom studio setup, Wanted! ends up sounding like few (if any) other releases out today (which is surprising considering the recent mainstreaming of country rap and indie music's embrace of cowboy aesthetics). While I can already see this phrase getting overused in the future when referring to this EP or those that will inevitably sound like it, I feel obligated to describe this to you as bedroom country.

Like much of Rachel's other solo material, her arresting multi-track vocals float across each of these songs, but never without intention. As her vocals take up the high end of each track (they're breathy in the way some dream pop songs are, but are perfectly intelligible), the low end is anchored by the cold stomp of a drum machine.  In between the two is where the country guitars -- some electric, some acoustic -- drive each song forward.

Even outside of country music, lyrical references to Bonnie and Clyde are generally played out in 2021, but considering how novel the sounds on this EP are, "Gunpowder Baby" is able to breathe new life into the Depression-era classic. Rachel lassos in more outlaw imagery on "Heist" while delivering some of her most impactful songwriting yet in the song's chilly bridge ("I don't like to be the bearer of bad news, except for when I do / I don't like to get red on these shoes, except for when I do.") And don't hightail it past the slow build to the simple, yet devastating breakdown on "What You've Done," either.

I'm convinced whoever is trying to collect the bounty on Rachel Cion's head won't have an easy go of it.

Stream the EP on Spotify or Apple Music.

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