Book of Leaves

Rachel Grimes

Just as Book of Leaves, the new solo piano album from Rachel’s pianist Rachel Grimes, contains no lyrics, it would seem fitting to review the album without words; perhaps replacing language with a textured abstract painting or the smell of brisk autumn air would be appropriate. Such are the synesthetic pleasures elicited by Book of Leaves, which finds considerable weight and dramatic tension in its seemingly monochromatic palette. Otherworldly chordal voicings and inscrutable melodies flicker like distant stars, creating a piquantly evocative atmosphere unmistakably reminiscent of Erik Satie, particularly on “Far Light,” which sounds like a long-lost entry in the Gnossiennes series. The pacing ranges from urgent (“Mossgrove,” “Bloodroot”) to almost maddeningly deliberate (“Every Morning”), but the album is never less than utterly compelling, transcending the “mood music” archetype on the strength of its haunting beauty and palpable humanity.