RAC (aka André Allen Anjos) is a Portland-based, Portuguese-American Grammy Award-winning songwriter, musician and record producer. To date, he has released a couple of studio albums and already had a career spanning 10 years. Now, 2020 marks the release of his third album, BOY, featuring a wealth of guest talent. Here’s what we have to say about it…
BOY is best described by Anjos himself, who pushed his artistic limits by navigating his way through his complex childhood. “This album is about growing up,” writes Anjos. “I was tapping into melodies that remind me of that period of my life. Rooted in a sense of nostalgia, growing pains and coming of age. It’s an elusive feeling but I tried to capture it and ultimately re-interpret it through a modern lens.”
This nostalgia is evident throughout the album, with a series of 80s synths and funky guitar vibes to bring together this collective body of work, whilst still maintaining a contemporary edge to it. Plus, the wealth of guest talent across the album is a testament to RAC’s creative magnetism. “It’s conversational,” he says of his working style with the artists he features. “We find shared experiences and I give them space to tell their story through my lens.”
Whether it’s the bittersweet melodic ‘Boomerang’ (featuring Luna Shadows); the guitar-heavy ‘MIA’ with captivating vocals from Danny Dwyer or the sweet-sounding ‘Oakland’ (featuring Winnetka Bowling League) about leaving someone behind to start somewhere new, there is something for everyone on this rather summery record.
[RAC has] created a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful!
Standout tracks would have to be: ‘Passion’ (featuring Louis The Child) for its light, funkiness, vibing along the lines of Foster The People or Two Door Cinema Club; ‘Together’ (featuring Evalyn) which is not only a catchy tropical house-like track but the beat almost double-times part way through, making it quite different; and ‘Sweater’ (featuring Maddie Jay) – a straight-up funk track with great guitar melodies that run alongside the vocals yet both give each other space to play in the gaps between them.
That’s not to forget the previously-released singles from the record: ‘Carefree’ (featuring LeyeT) that has crisp, sometimes fast-paces vocals and simplistic production melodies that make it really stand out; ‘Stuck On You’ (featuring Phil Good) with rap-esque verse vocals and a clearly catchy chorus; and ‘Change The Story’ (featuring Jamie Lidell) – a very bass-heavy track with horns and a David Bowie meets Prince vocal to top it off.
The album has a couple of fillers that could easily have been left off, ‘Next To You’ (featuring Emerson Leif) is fairly mumble sung whilst ‘Solo’ (featuring Gothic Tropic) is chaotic in places and not the best track on the album, by far. ‘Better Days’ (featuring St. Lucia) is a little disappointing too – it’s a strong 80s power ballad and though the blend of male and female vocals is nice, St. Lucia is not featured much.
The album is stitched together by a series of musical intros and interludes all around off-key sorts of melodies with nonsensical vocals. ‘Gomas’ is very much 80s meets Game Boy, whilst ‘Dolores Park’ is probably the most beautiful of them all.
It’s easy to see how this producer has taken the theme of growing up and collaborated with others to tell his story with a deep sense of nostalgia, creating a wonderful collection of contemporary pop songs that are beautifully understated yet superbly powerful! It’ll be interesting to see where RAC takes his next album – will it be as thematic or something different?
‘BOY’ is out now and can be downloaded from Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/gb/album/boy/1500009251
BOY on Spotify
Stuck On You featuring Phil Good (Music Video)
Carefree featuring LeyeT (Music Video)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this songwriter and producer’s latest album? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.