Review Summary: Rachel's blend chamber music and contemporary music into a gorgeous relateable sound.
Emotion is in my honest opinion the element that makes music to me the most valuable thing in my life. If an album at some point doesn't make me either giddy with excitement, or nearly bring me to tears, chances are I won't think it's that exceptional. The Sea and The Bells is an extremely emotional, carefully crafted, and downright gorgeous record. Rachel's as a band are known for their "borrowed" influence from the realm of chamber music, and no more is it seen true than on The Sea and The Bells. This album sounds like what "classical" would sound like in the 21st century. Rachel's expertly take in ideas that are presented in contemporary music and superbly sew them into a sound of the past.
Rachel's is in a way very similar to the music of Philip Glass. It's repetitive and minimal but at the same time stirs themes of despair and loss that stick with the listener. It's hard to not listen to Rachel's and have memories of some time of grief in life. The emotional connection and nostalgia-inducing ability that the music of Rachel's has with its listener is in my opinion represented so blatantly in only one other realm of music: emotional hardcore. Where most emotional hardcore bands tend to go for a far more aggressive route for their delivery of catharsis, Rachel's soft melancholy sound clearly reflects the listener's own grieves just as pertinently.
One downfall of Rachel's sound on The Sea and The Bells is the band's small fetish for field recordings of some things that don't really sit to well with the music (this is best seen in the track "To Rest Near To You".) Other than this small detail, I can really find no fault in Rachel's music. Perhaps I am just a sucker for overtly emotional music, but to find someone who could not relate and really enjoy Rachel's that is above the age of eighteen would be extremely difficult to find in my opinion. The music on The Sea and The Bells resonates with everyone because it speaks of familiar ground. While other artists claim to be expunging tales of lost love, Rachel's clearly know exactly the method to deliver a lamenting tune and on The Sea and The Bells the band reaches maudlin perfection.