RUMER: B Sides & Rarities (Warner/Rhino)


Back in 2010 Rumer came, saw and conquered almost everyone with her charming album ‘Seasons Of My Soul’ and with singles like ‘Aretha’ she was all over the airwaves. It seemed that the sky was the limit for the young Sarah Joyce. Two more albums followed – ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and ‘Into Colour’ but though critically-acclaimed they didn’t quite take the Pakistan-born singer to that all important next level. Rumer herself, though, doesn’t seem that bothered. With husband,  Rob Shirakbari, (her producer and musical director) she’s moved from Los Angeles to live in a small, town somewhere in darkest Northwest Arkansas. In a recent exclusive interview with SJF Rumer revealed that the decision to move there was to get away from the glare of the spotlight, the perpetual grind of the music business and relentless scrutiny of the press. Good on her!

However to keep things simmering she’s just officially released this lovely 17 tracker – a selection of recordings that have, till now, been hard to find – outtakes, demos, rarities and B sides. They had all originally been available via her web site but Rumer and Rob think the time is right for everyone to have easy access to them… and for what could so easily have been a rag-bag affair the album is hugely coherent and assured. There are two obvious reasons for this. First is Rumer’s lovely voice – sure there’s the Karen Carpenter similarity but nothing wrong with that – and second there’s the quality of the songs…. amongst the material here are songs written by some of the very best – including people like Henry Mancini, Paul Simon, George Harrison, Randy Newman and Bacharach and David!

There’s a trio of Bacharach songs – ‘Arthur’s Theme’, ‘Alfie’ and ‘Hasbrook Heights’ and the combination of Rumer’s voice and the melodies of Mr B is spot on and as an extra bonus, a certain Dionne Warwick joins Rumer on ‘Hasbrook Heights’. It’s an album highlight. Other goodies include Rumer’s version of the Beach Boys’ ‘The Warmth Of The Sun’ and ‘That’s All’ – a tune recorded with pianist Michael Feinstein on which the Karen Carpenter similarity is remarkable!

Add to those a great bossa nova mix of Rumer’s own ‘Dangerous’ and a couple of songs with the underrated Stephen Bishop and you have a great album that adds more garlands to Rumer’s current small but perfectly formed catalogue.

Check out more about this album via our exclusive interview with Rumer…. access it through our “Interviews” tag!

(BB) 4/5