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Rachael Lavelle announces debut album Big Dreams. Watch the music video for title track

Dublin-based singer-songwriter Rachael Lavelle has announced her debut album Big Dreams out November 10. Alongside this announcement, Lavelle has released the second single off the album, the title track ‘Big Dreams’, an existential ballad, with a music video directed by Bob Gallagher.

The new single, ‘Big Dreams’ is a meditation on love, high expectations, and the passing of time. The ballad is from the perspective of someone in their final moments of consciousness, flooded with memories of their life, those they loved, and who left an impact. As the closing track on the album, ‘Big Dreams’ reflects on the journey, and in its conclusion finds the answer: “I am open to the possibilities”.

Big Dreams chronicles the journey of someone young and directionless, searching for meaning, dragged off their path by the desire for perfection. Lavelle tells a 21st-century coming-of-age story, where the naivety in dreaming big results in disappointment, and a deep-set existential dread, an isolating but entirely universal aspect of new-adulthood all through a lens of her own quirky sense of humour. The album’s protagonist is surrounded by the myth of ‘clean eating’, adverts telling them how they can become who they should be, an array of self-help books and videos, claiming to have the power to unlock your full potential. The album begins emotionally distant and frankly, Lavelle is just in dire need of a holiday. We hear her looking for anything to fill the void, from here she traverses through an ethereal dream world to make peace with any uncertainty.

Lavelle’s unique vocals soar through Big Dreams, over synths, detailed sound design and beats sampled from various locations. The instrumentation is orchestral featuring strings on the final ballad and clarinet and saxophone played by her long time collaborator, Ryan Hargadon. Peppered throughout the album is an internal monologue narrated by the voice of the Dublin trams (The ‘Luas Lady’), Doireann Ní Bhriain, who in the album is internally making the humorous, yet depressing public service announcements of a millennial mind: contradictory, yet aspirational. “Gratitude, ever heard of it?” she asks the listener in ‘Big Dreams’ “How did I get here? Will I ever be satisfied?” Her emotionless, matter-of-fact public service tone comes across both as sardonic and hopeless.

The mid-20th-century technicolour aesthetic is deeply embedded in Big Dreams, coming through in both the instrumentation Lavelle’s vocals in the dramatic ballads, as well as the visuals, which make references to old cinema, from the silent era to the medieval period dramas of the 1970s.

Big Dreams:

  1. Travel Size
  2. Let Me Unlock Your Full Potential
  3. Soft Colour Palettes
  4. Eat Clean
  5. Gratitude
  6. Perpetual Party
  7. My Simple Pleasures
  8. Night Train
  9. Sleepy Gal
  10. Big Dreams

Photo credit: Cáit Fahe

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