Sara Rachele is at her best when she confronts difficult themes. Her 2015 song “Rebecca” is a heart-crushing recounting of having an abortion and its latent after-effects. 2020’s Scorpio Sun, the follow-up to her 2019 release Scorpio Moon, is as uncompromising in its honesty as it is uplifting in its search for beauty. “For this album,” Rachele explains, “I'm trying to strip my music back and be who I am, where I am, right now: a person who's been really run around and had to retreat from a lot of different situations, who is trying to fix things, trying to fix myself.”
|Sara Rachele - photo courtesy of the artist|
In the aftermath of the Scorpio Moon production, a tightly-constructed affair with a full band and several production issues, Rachele (pronounced “ra-kelly”) found herself returning to the songs that didn’t make the cut. “I was trying to write through some personal issues that had been going on, and I also wanted to see which songs could stand up by themselves. I wanted to know which of these songs could be vulnerable and not feel like trauma porn or what have you.” This album’s title is inspired from Rachele’s realization that most of the people around her as she worked on Scorpio Moon, including her ex-boyfriend, were Scorpio sun signs.
Where Scorpio Moon was a complex, atmospheric collection of jazz and pop-influenced songs, Scorpio Sun is a complete about-face. Recorded with Rachele’s long-time collaborator Spencer Garn, this new LP is a more stripped-down affair: just Rachele’s haunting voice, hypnotic guitars, and captivating lyrics bolstered by Rachele’s recent stint at a low-residency MFA in poetry at New York University.
Scorpio Sun is a moody album that seeks to strip back the layers of power and abuse in the creative world -- and how that impacts a person's individual artistry and expression. What happens in the aftermath? How do you pick yourself back up from the excesses of celebrity culture and move forward? "What a Fine Friend You'll Be" begins with a buttery meditation on guitar before building into an ominous juggernaut of loneliness and resolution.
The song opens with the character driving aimlessly on the road, questioning their relationships and connections as the odometer slowly ticks up. Rachele seems to comfort the character, assuring them that they are deserving of the love and support they yearn for.
Scorpio Sun will be out tomorrow, June 25th, on Rachele's label Angrygal Records.