MAGGIE ROGERS // 'HEARD IT IN A PAST LIFE' - ALBUM REVIEW

AMERICAN SONGSTRESS MAGGIE ROGERS UNVEILS HER PRISTINE DEBUT ‘HEARD IT IN A PAST LIFE’

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

As revealed in a Twitter AMA, the title Heard It In a Past Life was in fact the first concept Maggie Rogers conceived for her debut album. It’s a fitting title for the work that was to follow. The 24-year-old singer/songwriter and producer has risen from viral sensation to an emerging star in her own right, crafting a organic fusion of indie, folk and electronica that has now manifested itself in her first full length effort. And its a resounding success, with a sophistication about it that exudes seasoned veteran rather than debutante.

Heard It In a Past Life is a record that has a hefty amount of emotional weight behind it, yet Rogers manages to tackle many hard-hitting issues whilst keeping the atmosphere above the waterline. The anthemic ‘Light On’ engages with the natural vulnerability that comes with fame, the tender call and response vocal harmonies supplemented with breezy keyboard melodies and spacious drum sounds. The tranquil single ‘Alaska’ - which propelled her to fame when she played it for Pharrell Williams at a university masterclass - does show its relative age compared to the remainder of the track listing. Yet the heartfelt imagery at play in Rogers’ lyrics, and the seamless switch to her head voice for the refrain is still just as beautiful.

Rogers and her team of co-producers have to be complimented for nailing the production of this record - it stays true to the fresh and human sound that she represents, defying the genre borderlines to create a diverse and enchanting listen with brilliant moments of contrast. The hazy synth chords punctuate the verses of ‘Say It’ beautifully before Rogers lets rip into an airy chorus, whilst ‘Retrograde’ oozes power pop with its eighties-fuelled drum beats and angular, detuned guitars. On the contrary tunes like ‘Burning’ and ‘Overnight’ aren’t afraid to let the instrumentation sit slightly aside, as to let Rogers’ commanding voice take centre stage and bask in the spotlight.

In an era where too much of the pop music we consume is coated with mechanical functionality, Maggie Rogers has cultivated an infectious record with a integral human sound to it. It’s surely way too early to call this album of the year in January, but for sure we’ve got a contender at early doors.

Maggie Rogers - Heard It In A Past Life is out now via Capitol Records. Stream the album below:

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REVIEW BY: PETE WISHER

Peter Wisher