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Makin Waves Album of the Month: "Acceptance" by Rachel Ana Dobken


By Bob Makin

originally published: 04/03/2024

Makin Waves Album of the Month: "Acceptance" by Rachel Ana Dobken

PHOTO BY JUSTIN LUBRANICKI

After the release of several singles, the multi-hyphenated talent of Asbury Park songstress Rachel Ana Dobken — songwriter, drummer, guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, producer, videographer, live music curator, graphic artist — comes to full fruition with her second full-length album, "Acceptance."

The long-awaited follow-up to 2018's "When It Happens to You" LP, as well as the 2016 debut EP, "Detach," was co-produced by Erik Romero of The Front Bottoms and Paul Ritchie of The Parlor Mob in conjunction with RAD. The nine-song collection of souladelic indie rock maps such influences as Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd, and Thin Lizzy on a journey of self-discovery.

The opening emotional title track was inspired by the abrupt end of two important relationships: a longtime BF and RAD’s father, who died during the isolating pandemic after a long battle with cancer. One of the most trying times in the singer-songwriter’s life and the subsequent internal balance are conveyed with gritty vocals, hearty guitar interplay between her, co-producer Paul Ritchie and his Parlor Mob bandmate Erik Rudic, as well as that between RAD also on drums and bassist Dan Hasse.

If songwriting is catharsis, “Acceptance” is equal parts therapeutic session and healing music seisiún, as is most of the remainder of the album. RAD describes the songs as letters to herself that helped her cope with the loss of her dad and the frustration and struggle that came with trying to make a record as studios were forced closed by the pandemic, which explains the gap between albums.

Listeners also will find comfort throughout “Acceptance,” particularly on “Just a Dream,” an awakening from a psychedelic nightmare or the bad trip that reality can be.



 
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Blind Melon guitarist Rogers Stevens brings his unique energy to the confessionary confection of “Bed You Made,” as does Jersey Shore keyboard great Mark Masefield. 

Next up is the LP’s first single “Cruel Cruel Cruel,” a popedelic nugget that mines the pain and disappointment of a breakup into a menacing musical treat. While Dan swings along the edge of a punk rock rhythm, Erik and RAD beautifully lay down searing Thin Lizzy-eqsue guitarmonies.

The soulful ballad “Give Us Another Chance” features Preservation Hall Jazz Band saxophonist Clint Maedgen who underscores RAD’s churchlike Wurlitzer playing with mastery.

Originated from a place of heartache and hope in the wake of finding out about an ex’s new love on social media, RAD painfully shares, "You spend so much time / Helping someone else / Learn to be their better self / Just in time for them to say goodbye and give it all / To somebody else."

About a lasting love in the face of forgiveness, “Meant To” features a driving ‘60s vibe reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra, while the sparse Jeff Buckley-like “Goes South” is the polar opposite as it examines the anxiety that stems from the messiness of a break up.

RAD surfs the emotional wave of the Pearl Jam-like “Tomorrow’s Another Day” with a cacophony of guitars. The song is about not wanting to keep going, but knowing you have to find strength and comfort because tomorrow’s another day to wake up and start all over again.

And so “Acceptance” comes full circle with more acceptance, as well as an eerie Pink Floyd-like vocal vamp on the closing reprise of "Tomorrow's Another Day.”



 
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In a much better place than when she wrote this album, RAD has a lot to celebrate! On April 5, the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park will host a record release party for “Acceptance.” DRKHRT and JWalttz will share the bill.

The release party is sandwiched by dates with 53 Thieves on April 4 at Mercury Lounge, New York City; April 6, Silk City, Philadelphia, and April 7, Pie Shop, Washington, D.C.

On Sept. 14, RAD will play Sea.Hear.Now  with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, The Gaslight Anthem, Trey Anastasio, Norah Jones, Kool & the Gang, Action Bronson, Gogol Bordello, Larkin Poe, Joy Oladokun, Sunshine Spazz and more.

For more about RAD, visit https://linktr.ee/rachelanadobken

Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at makinwaves64@yahoo.com


 

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