Some albums are about the journey, others the destination. Elaine Mai’s long-awaited debut Home is the latter. There’s a sense of defined identity here that looks to Mai’s own path of artistic discovery and culminates in a sound that is sure-footed, deft of texture and confident in delivery.
Elaine Mai is the auteur, Home is her work. As a producer, Mai crafts a sonic milieu throughout the album with a sense of scope, drama and place. Songs like album opener ‘To You’ and the pulsating synth wave of ‘Together Again’ draw differing dynamic tones from the records over-arching mood-driven landscape. Surrounding the piece with music that moves with intent.
Mai also ensures Home is populated not only by multi-textural sound but characteristically striking voices also. Whether it’s the emotionally-driven performance of Ailbhe Reddy on ‘Still Feel’, the captivating presence of Loah found within ‘Waiting To Breathe’ or the hazy lowlight aura of Sinead White on ‘Go Slow’, Elaine Mai casts the right person for the right moment. Making Home feel like a soundscape alive with life itself.
However, the towering ‘No Forever’ creates Home’s high tide mark. Featuring the scene-setting serenity and dynamically woven performance of MayKay at its heart, Elaine Mai produces a track as vivid as it is vibrant through a series of ever rising synths and lush beats. Capturing a widescreen sound that looms large.
And so it goes, Home is an album of artistic catharsis. Elaine Mai’s debut is perfectly tempered. Showing that as attractive as the journey may be, the destination is the reason you’re travelling in the first place. Home is where Elaine Mai is now, and it’s the right place at the right time.