Rationale - Vessels EP - Review
Zimbabwe-born British artist Tinashe Fazakerley continues to impress with the release of his latest EP, Vessels. The follow up to one of my favorite songs of summer 2015, 'Fuel to the Fire', is only the beginning for the singer-songwriter. He is scheduled to release a debut self-titled album later this year, and this serves as a wonderful launching point.
Rationale has had a very busy 2016-17 schedule already, providing opening support for Bastille on their latest world tour. He also helped write part of their latest album, Bad Blood. Ascending soul singer Rag'N'Bone Man's debut album Human also featured his writing, which came out this week.
The first song off the EP is 'Prodigal Son'. With Rationale, the first thing you notice is his voice. It's a dreamy, dark baritone which is hard to draw comparisons to. It is clear why he's drawn upon for songwriting help, as he uses vivid imagery and word play in his songs. 'Prodigal Son' describes a situation that is all too common in today's world; growing up without a father. He sings out; "I wanna hold counsel with the ghost of my father / tell him I'll be everything he could never be". Its a feeling that continues on throughout the song, which magnificent production. If you aren't paying close attention to the lyrics, you could almost view it as a positively themed track. As the song progresses, he realizes that, as scary as it may be, he might be turning into his father; "I'm just like you" he sings. Later in an interview about said lyrics, he commented; "It explores my relationship with my biological father at first but if I'm really honest, it also explores the relationship that a lot of my friends have with their absent fathers."
Next is 'Vessels', the title track. It sucks you in with soft keys before you are treated to the electro-pop sound that we love from him. He sings; "Don't be another empty vessel, free your mind" - a call to be original, and avoid just drifting through life. He emphasizes this point later, adding in another great tip for living in todays day and age - worry less about money, and more about having substance; "I don't wanna be an empty vessel, wasting life/ tracing every penny, clinging on."
The third track off the EP is 'Reciprocate', which came out in January 2017. The writing features an honest, desperate plea for his love to be matched by someone. He sings; "Reciprocate my love / take a chance and risk it all for me / Isn't it enough? / I've been holding on for you and me". This sentiment persists throughout, as he is still facing a one-sided relationship later in the song; "You keep making it hard for me / heaven knows that I tried / I give all in, I keep waiting for you / reciprocate my love". The production is a bit closer to dance than pop, which must be a fantastic live tune.
The finale on the EP is the only song that we did not receive prior to this release, titled 'Tethered'. It is the most stripped-down production wise, allowing his lyrics to shine; "I spent so many years running from myself before you came along." As the song slowly rolls along, the figurative meaning of the song starts to make itself clear. Tinashe is using this song as a way of expressing how he feels being in a relationship, wrapping up a tumultuous EP on a positive, optimistic note. When asked about his intended meaning, he said; "'Tethered' is a song that I think a lot of people will relate to. It's about choosing to stay entangled in love when all the odds are against you and being connected to someone in a way that no one else can fathom."
As a lead-up to the release of his upcoming debut self-titled album, this primes the pump fantastically. You can find a link below to this EP, as well as a link to his debut EP Fuel To The Fire.