Indie/soul/pop duo Love, DEAN, aka Rachael and Luke Price, release their self-titled debut album, a collection of feel-good songs revolving around love, community, and coming of age.
Rachael explains, “This album is a love letter from us to anyone who listens. We’re hoping the listener feels let into our lives; that they can see value in music; value in people; and that they feel inspired to grow in their own lives and relationships. We leave space for grief, hardship, and honesty but our target is encouragement and positivity in the midst of struggles.”
The duo, now husband and wife, met at Berklee College of Music and formed a band known initially as DEAN! Later, they modified the name to Love, DEAN, mirroring the compassion of their music.
According to Rachael, “Our music comes from our experience and from the influence of our musical community which stretches across the country, from Boston, New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Portland.”
Co-produced by Luke Price and Dave Kitay, the album features the talents of Sebastian Steinberg (bass), Brian MacLeod (drums), Daniel Clarke (keyboards), Margaret Glaspy (backing vocals), and Vishal Nayak (drums).
Encompassing 11-tracks, entry points include “You Won’t Forget,” a bluesy soul song allowing Rachael to strut her luscious voice, brimming with sensuous timbres. Horn accents give the melody smooth coloration, while an oozing organ imbues the tune with dripping tones.
One of the best tracks is “Honey Pie,” traveling on a fat bassline and tight percussion. A gleaming guitar gives the tune voluptuous savors as Rachael’s crème de la crème vocals deliver posh flavors, creamy and opulent. As the song gathers resonance, the braying organ infuses the song with dynamic rippling hues.
“Good women don’t grow on trees / My lovin’ is never for free / Good thing I know just what you need / A smile and a slice of some honey pie.”
“Bravest Man,” reminiscent of Sam Cooke, features a low-slung, trickling organ and softly glowing brass. Gospel-lace backing harmonies imbue the song with shimmering quixotic aromas. “Some Sign” rolls out on sparkling pop colors flavored with washes of soul. Percolating horns provide dazzling tints as Rachael parades her lusciously expressive voice.
The last track, “Whitest Dove,” travels on tender guitars topped by Rachael’s delicate, tantalizing tones. Slowly undulating, the harmonics simmer with luxurious layers of smooth buttery textures. When the music ramps up, the melody radiates complex depth and dimension.
“Oh my God, I wanted to be / The whitest dove / Now my spots are too many and / I know I’ll never be innocent.”
Speaking to the song, Rachael says, “My brother passed away, and this was his favorite song I wrote. We grew up in church and it felt like there was a pressure to be perfect, but we all fall apart at some point. I had a picture of him and me on my music stand when I recorded this lead vocal. I hope he can hear it.”
Wonderfully wrought, Love, DEAN is an excellent album.