Rachel Goodrich - Tinker Toys
Record Label: Yellow Bear Records
Release Date: Oct. 29, 2008
Miami singer/songwriter Rachel Goodrich makes up for her lack of vocal prowess by stepping it up with spunk and ingenue. Her nine-song, self-produced collection of lo-fi indie pop entitled Tinker Toys is a quirky amalgamation of xylophones, chimes, whistles, kazoos, trombones, ukeleles, tambourines, handclaps, and everything but the kitchen sink. Utilizing a bevy of instruments, she offers a rollercoaster of emotions that's at times unfocused if not a little too forthright.
Opener "Piggy Bank," is a shuffling song that has its heart in the right place and is backed by what sounds like carnival music, as she sings: "Days and weeks and months and years, pennies in a pot, and when that pot gets pretty full, it's time to pop the top."
Second track "The Black Hole " is heavy on the xylophones and her voice is near-pitch perfect, as she sings, "Where did all the time go when nobody was lookng? When I went behind their backs and took it all." Of all the songs offered here, it's the closest to single material. Unfortunately the radio appeal is dragged down by third song "Excuses Excuses" a spoken-word offering that is an utter disaster. Fourth song "Terminal Song" tries to pick up the pace and does so winningly, as a ukelele backs a gang vocal of "1, 2, 3,4!"
From there the album is a succession of one hip-shaking offering after the other. "Northern Light" is sweet and breezy and "Dope Song" is as carefree and subdued as its title suggests, as she asks a lover for cash to buy a "a bag of bitchin' pot." Of the latter songs, "Little Brass Bear" is the most noteworthy, as its every bit as hopeful and warm as the title indicates. "I got a shovel the size of a teacup. A dream as big as China. We can go far, we can go far," she sings.
On the whole, this is an album that's packed with brevity --- few songs clock in past 3:20 --- as well as range. There's earnest indie ballads, Jazz Age whimsy, and a vibe that would make Walt Disney chuckle. Being incredibly skilled at a few instruments is talent in and of itself, but the great multitude Goodrich tackles on Tinker Toys is proof of her inherent skill. While there are a few letdowns and her vocals aren't perfect, there's enough swagger and charisma to keep a listener coming back for more. Being only 25, she certainly has a long career ahead of her. If this album serves as her launching off point, then a profitable career is certainly in store. With a bit more focus and a bit more gravitas, Goodrich could very well become the female equivalent to Andrew Bird.
Recommended If You Like: Chairlift, Jill Sobule, Beach House, Scout Niblett
Never heard of her, but I like the review. I can sense the carefree, whimsical vibe behind this record.
It's definitely whimsical and carefree. The mantra "no worries" is pretty much her MO.
There was an interview with her on this site in December. I'll try and find you the link one of these days. Thanks for reading and commenting! Keep an eye on her, she may be going places.