thu 15/04/2021

Album: Raf Rundell - O M Days | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Raf Rundell - O.M. Days

Album: Raf Rundell - O.M. Days

Deeper, stranger and more personal visions from the alt-pop journeyman

The career of Raf Rundell has had one of the most satisfying trajectories of any in UK music – a steady process of self-realisation, from record label staff via DJing and artist management, through being a serial studio collaborator, to becoming a fully fledged artist in his own right.

The career of Raf Rundell has had one of the most satisfying trajectories of any in UK music – a steady process of self-realisation, from record label staff via DJing and artist management, through being a serial studio collaborator, to becoming a fully fledged artist in his own right. For a musician to only now, in his late 40s, be releasing his second full album might seem odd, but there’s something very natural about the way it’s all happened, which is expressed in the confidence of his sound which only continues to mature like fine wine.

At the heart of this record sits the single “Always Fly” – a duet with the UK soul should-be superstar Terri Walker. Its classic Nineties hip hop soul sound and George Michael / Aretha Franklin tribute video suggest something as based in partying and geniality as Rundell’s house music based work with Joe Goddard in The Two Bears. But there are some peculiar noises and references to “places still unknown” in it that hint at something weirder, and indeed the rest of the album is a fantastically psychedelic affair. The title, as well as implying the exclamation "oh my days", also references the discordian / yippie concept of "Operation Mindfuck" and it is very much strange music for strange times.

In less confident hands it could be very much “record collector rock”. There are all kinds of hip reference points like Sixties pastoral folk rock, end of the Seventies post-punk disco (even including a turn from Blockhead Chaz Jankel), Eighties electro funk, even a little hint of grime and uk rap – it’s a potential hodgepodge. But somewhere between a deeply mind-bending but deft lyricism and a desire that it should all work as pop music as much as experimentalism, Rundell manages to blend it all together into a distinct, and distinctly personal document. It still has the geniality of his earlier work, but he’s mining ever deeper depths, and that unique trajectory of his suggests that this is a hint of greater things still to come.

@joemuggs

 Listen to "Always Fly"

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