Music Review: Up in Flames by Ruelle

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© Nate Griffin

Ruelle, the alias of singer-songwriter Maggie Eckford is taking the world by storm with the release of her EP Up in Flames. Although it is not her most recent release Up in Flames is an EP that I believe was a pivotal moment in Ruelle’s career and a personal favourite of mine.  

With her own unique style, Ruelle is changing the forms of conventional pop with intense build-ups and a smooth cinematic sound that is really quite special. Having songs featured in numerous TV shows including Shadowhunters and Pretty Little Liars it is more than likely that you have heard at least one of her songs without even realising. 

Title track Up in Flames uses low droning chords to set in place the momentous suspense that the EP carries from start to finish. An airy vocal paired with a string section creates a beautifully symphonic sound which is something this EP is not in short supply of. The use of an orchestra with a synthesizer is not something I thought would ever work, but it fits Ruelle’s sound perfectly. 

Until We Go Down the opening theme for The Shannara Chronicles is a track that demands to be heard. Ominous synths accompanied by keys open the track. This is the calm before the storm. The suspense builds with an orchestra of strings and leads into a moment of sinister silence. But don’t let the silence fool you the song is far from over yet crashing back in with thunderous beats the song reaches a new and dangerous height. 

War of Hearts, a personal favourite of my mine is an unconventional love song that has a dramatic flair, which is often unseen in a song of its type. War of Hearts opens with a melodic piano sound but very quickly builds momentum with a booming drum beat. The lyrics are filled with an intense passion and Ruelle’s vocal tone is honestly stunning. This song has been used in one of my favourite TV scenes (Shadowhunter fans will know which one!) and its cinematic quality brings to life the characters and story. 

With intricate songs that flow into each other, the EP sustains a beautifully cinematic sound that Ruelle is notorious for and brings it to light in a way in which has not been heard before. 

You can listen Up In Flames on Spotify

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