In just the past few years, London based Canadian Rachel Zeffira, has lived quite an extraordinary life. She has been barred from entering the UK (then managed to get back in), formed a band with Faris Badwan from The Horrors (Cat’s Eyes) with whom she sang at the Vatican in 2011, and eventually released an EP and full length album. Following the success of Cat’s Eyes, Zeffira then turned her attention to her solo career by covering My Bloody Valentine’s “To Here Knows When” and working on the songs that would become her debut album.
Self-produced, Zeffira’s classical training shows throughout The Deserters’ 10 songs. The piano led title track creates a timeless, otherworldly feel that is easy to get lost in. Another piano track, “Front Door” feature a solo vocal performance that sounds like it was pulled from the latest MTC production. Marking the halfway point is the cinematic “Break the Spell”. With its sweeping vocals and string section, Zeffira makes a fine effort to be this generation’s Loreena McKennitt.
From here, The Deserters then falls into a softer batch of songs for the second half, including the aforementioned MBV cover and the gothic tinged “Goodbye Divine” with its haunted church organ melody. Towards the end, The Deserters starts to get a bit same-y in both ideas and orchestration. However, there are more than enough flashes of brilliance on her debut to make the listener want to hear more from future Rachel Zeffira projects.
Review also be found at UMFM.com