God bless the incorporation of looping in modern music. Though we can go as far back as Bing Crosby in regards to contemporary usage of ostinato, the refinement of electroacoustic music in more recent times has brought us some real kickers. Perhaps most well-known for its 21st-century usage is Ed Sheeran, but artists from KT Tunstall to Kimbra have also incorporated the technique. Oh, and Rachel Mousie, an up-and-coming Cincinnati singer-songwriter, has sonically centered her new album, Talk to Your Babies, around the technique.
Beautiful, repetitious layers add to a backdrop that is nothing short of a wonderland on the artist’s latest effort. Co-produced by Mousie and cellist extraordinaire Michael G. Ronstadt, the two artistic forces combine to create a lush and ornate modern folk record that invokes the same sort of ingenuity that you may expect from the likes of Andrew Bird or Dina Maccabee. Albeit, instead of a violin or viola at the forefront, it’s a piano that’s met with a broad spectrum of strings and studio magic to complete the ensemble.
At its center, though, is Mousie’s honey-sweet, warm vocal stylings. There’s something utterly listenable about the way she vocally navigates her way through the soundscapes that she devises. This has always been the case, but on Talk to Your Babies, she seems to have fully commenced on taking on a new and exciting path with her musicality altogether. Part of the deft instrumentation present on the record are Mousie’s own vocals backing herself in increasingly complex and memorable patterns. Finally, she relates them in quickly absorbable fashion for her audience by touching on a barrage of personable themes.
Finally, she relates them in quickly absorbable fashion for her audience by touching on a barrage of personable themes. And, ultimately, it’s just one of those albums that you’ll need to give a few good, concerted listens to understand the sheer depth of. At first, it comes across as a catchy and overall hopeful folk-pop record, and it is both of those things. Yet, its brilliance really comes out the more that you lend it your ear. All in all, it comes down to this—for Mousie, Talk to Your Babies is a home run.