Hushed and hauntingly intimate, Gracie and Rachel’s ‘a whisper becomes a shout’ EP transforms three special songs from their recently-released sophomore album into fragile outpourings of stirring self-expression.
Stream: “undo (a whisper)” – gracie and rachel
Hushed and hauntingly intimate, Gracie and Rachel’s new EP is in many ways a reclamation for the indie pop duo – a return to form that transforms (or rather, reverts) three special songs from their recently-released sophomore album into fragile outpourings of self-expression. A soft, stirring, moody immersion into the depths of self and sound, a whisper becomes a shout highlights the very best of the band as they embrace sonic tenderness and emotional vulnerability.
Trust myself, no one else
But I got some doubts if I’m being honest
On a quest, no regrets
Gotta trust myself if I’m being honest
Times up, times out, a whisper becomes a shout
I will be heard I will say every word
Forget the way I was taught to behave
No need to forgive, all I gotta do is
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Gracie and Rachel’s a whisper becomes a shout, at once a follow-up and an offshoot from the pair’s recently-released sophomore album Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong (released September 18, 2020 via Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records). Praised at the time as an “an overwhelmingly honest overhaul,” Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong is a hauntingly visceral soundtrack to self-discovery and self-love; a record of empowerment and vulnerability; of identity and communication; of pain and euphoria; of life and beauty. The album found the duo of keyboardist Gracie Coates and violinist Rachel Ruggles in an elevated sonic space that went far above and beyond the stirring orchestral pop of their self-titled 2017 debut.
Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong remains a triumph and point of pride for Gracie and Rachel, but they admit it was “an uncomfortable process.” Their new EP “reclaims the intimacy that first defined their project,” with stripped renditions of their songs “Trust,” “Speak,” and “Undo.” Described as “a whisper,” these three versions present the band in a muted, impassioned state, where minor fluctuations feel like major flourishes of feeling. It’s “the gentle immediacy that got lost along the way,” they explain.
“a whisper becomes a shout is a collection of three songs we’ve felt especially close to from the very inception of making Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong,” the duo tell Atwood Magazine. From the moment “trust (a whisper)” opens, to the final breath is drawn in “undo (a whisper),” Gracie and Rachel come to life with elegance and finesse. Their songs retain the intensity and verve of their built-up album version alter egos, but here they contain a certain stillness; the beauty of the darkness; of a calmer frame. It’s a testament to Coates and Ruggles’ songwriting talents that their compositions resonate as deeply in softer, muted environments as they do in greater, more dynamic pop contexts.
Whether this suggests where the band is headed next, or if it’s just a pit stop along their way, Gracie and Rachel have us enchanted and spellbound. Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Gracie and Rachel’s a whisper becomes a shout EP with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their new EP!
a whisper becomes a shout is out June 25 via Righteous Babe Records.
Gracie and Rachel will return to The Sultan Room in Brooklyn on Friday, July 23rd for their first performance back. Tickets and details are here.
Stream: ‘a whisper becomes a shout’ – Gracie and Rachel
:: Inside a whisper becomes a shout ::
trust (a whisper)
trust (a whisper) was a song that helped us jumpstart the process of writing again, and it was one that we evolved during the height of the #metoo movement, so it came to mean a lot to us around themes of self-doubt and the need for self-trust. When we went into the studio to work on this song with a producer, we felt the song being ripped away from us with every sound that was added. By the end of the experience we felt that in fact we hadn’t trusted ourselves in the process of bringing the song to life in its production, we hadn’t listened to our own advice. Taking this song back into our hands for the whisper version, we wanted to be commanding in the song’s gentleness rather than in its size, to delicately invite it back into the world but do that boldly. To trust yourself means listening to your intuitions while paving the way forward without looking back, and we’re so grateful to get to finally do that with this release.
speak (a whisper)
speak (a whisper) was written after an argument between the two of us. We both honestly cannot remember what the argument was about; all we know is Gracie left the loft to get some air and Rachel sat down at the piano, away from her violin, and wrote this song to Gracie to let her know she wasn’t going anywhere, even if her mouth couldn’t speak those words out loud in the heat of the argument. When we brought this song to the team it was considered to be ‘a hit’ and the one we needed to really build up and make a more pop song statement out of. But it’s a song about quietness and about figuring your way through a moment, how to put one foot (or word) in front of another, and we wanted to try to capture that process of searching, trying to figure it out as you go along, with the dialogue that’s scattered on the track. We’ve always sort of mourned the intimacy of that original piano cry, that quiet but assured longing, and so with this whisper version we were able to bring those solemn sounds back and speak them into the ether.
undo (a whisper)
undo (a whisper) was one of the first songs we wrote for our latest record and it holds the title of the album in its lyrics with “hello weakness, you make me strong.” The lyrics are a series of oxymorons, words in opposition, in an effort to undo our inherent patterned thinking we are brought up with as children. The song became a really big, built up version of its more humble beginnings in wordplay, but we always wanted to bring back the more intimate mechanics of the song, still keeping some of the robotic tendencies, nodding to our programmed thinking, while letting the music break free a bit more and invite us to think outside of what we’ve been taught. The lyrical setting is sort of like a motor – it’s really the engine to the song and we wanted to support that feeling with a moving drum beat that hopefully doesn’t call too much attention to itself but guides you along the tongue-twisting journey as a sort of dance. It starts off the most raw out of all the songs, and that’s how we really wanted to approach these iterations, with that sheer sense of openness, sincerity, and intimate exploration.
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? © Gracie and Rachel
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