New artists can be recognized for a variety of reasons. One way to achieve this is to write music that is pleasant enough for the mainstream crowd but not memorable enough to be recalled a year or two down the road (i.e. radio friendly). Another way, this one most unfavourable, is to be so bad one remembers a song only because of the repugnant taste it left after the first listen. And then there’s the final way where an artist archives recognition because their music tastefully blends originality and familiarity to create something worth remembering. This is how one would describe singer/songwriter Rorie’s latest four-song EP, Dawn.
Musically, Rorie sits somewhere between Lorde and Lara Landon. Songs like the titular track and “Gold” mix the theatrical, percussion-heavy sound of the former with the whimsical melodies of the latter. It’s an approach to pop not heard too often, especially in Christian music, and Rorie pulls it off with few missteps. The aforementioned “Gold,” for example, starts softly with a haunting string section before building into a sweeping epic of sorts. Her vocals are also given the chance to shine and we’re shown that she isn’t only a fine songwriter but a more than capable vocalist as well.
“Fall and Rise” is a beautifully encouraging ballad reminiscent of Sara Groves’s gentler moments. The theatrical strings aren’t quite as effective here as they were in “Gold” and I would have loved to have heard a fully stripped down song to give the listener a full plate of what’s hopefully to come. Dawn closes with the worshipful “Measureless,” a whispery track that takes cues from Bethel’s Amanda Cook. It’s vertically pointed without sacrificing the sublime artistry of the rest of the EP.
Overall, Rorie’s latest EP is a fine addition to her expanding catalogue of songs and an even stronger appetizer for a possible future full-length. While I would have loved to see her deviate a little from the theatrical sound on a song or two to show just how versatile she can be, Dawn comes with a strong recommendation. Make sure to check it out when you get the chance.