Cigarettes & Housework

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The ranks of piano-based pop singers have swelled in recent years, and Rachel Fuller's debut adds another compelling voice to that list. Fans of Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and Paula Cole would do well to check out Cigarettes & Housework, the first pop recording from the classically trained singer-songwriter. Fuller was behind the arrangements on Pete Townshend's ambitious Lifehouse project, and he returns the favor here by playing acoustic and electric guitar throughout. Dissecting relationships with a poet's eye, Fuller turns out songs such as the angsty "Into My Heart," an ode to unrequited love, and the winsome ballad "Eat Me," a meditation on fatal ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The ranks of piano-based pop singers have swelled in recent years, and Rachel Fuller's debut adds another compelling voice to that list. Fans of Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and Paula Cole would do well to check out Cigarettes & Housework, the first pop recording from the classically trained singer-songwriter. Fuller was behind the arrangements on Pete Townshend's ambitious Lifehouse project, and he returns the favor here by playing acoustic and electric guitar throughout. Dissecting relationships with a poet's eye, Fuller turns out songs such as the angsty "Into My Heart," an ode to unrequited love, and the winsome ballad "Eat Me," a meditation on fatal attraction that draws metaphors from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her training is mainly in service to welcoming pop songs, such as the delirious "Spin" and the more typically subdued "Happy to Be Sad," about a lover still dwelling on a past relationship. Throughout, Fuller's sparklingly clear voice shines like a ray of spring sunlight, though it takes on a vaguely bluesy lilt on the disc-closing "In the Mirror," which suggests the passion and melodic sensibility of Stevie Nicks. Naturally, Fuller orchestrated her own arrangements here, but she makes the most use of her background on the aptly titled instrumental "Lament," a spare, cello-led song that surely paves a path for her as a film scorer. But for now, count Cigarettes & Housework as a welcome addition to the thinking-woman's pop-singer pantheon.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Singer/songwriter Rachel Fuller's debut album, Cigarettes & Housework, is the kind of record one used to hear quite regularly. Fuller is a classically trained pianist, composer, and arranger whose previous works have been recorded by the London Chamber Orchestra which performs here as well. She has also orchestrated portions of partner Pete Townshend's Lifehouse Chronicles. Her songs are elegant and graceful affairs musically, and wonderfully gritty, vulnerable slice-of-life stories lyrically. The combination of the two creates a kind of emotional tension that pulls the listener in many directions, making equanimity all but impossible. Fuller's tomes dig under the skin; they seek to scratch an itch until it bleeds and celebrate the flow of blood from the scars of living and loving. If this sounds morbid, it hardly is; she simply doesn't have time for mindless generalities, spineless pondering, or idle chitchat. She celebrates the melancholy not as a way of wallowing in the mud, but as a way of practicing radical acceptance of situations, relationships, and the self. In short, she poetically faces the inner spaces: she records every attempt at self-deception and practices great empathy for all of her protagonists in the first or third person. And she does so poetically. Townshend and his brother Simon guest with her band, as does bassist Pino Palladino. But this is all Fuller. The lush and poignant title track that opens the album with glissando piano and tempered rhythm accompaniment states with detachment: "My teenage years were full of fear/I spent most of them inside...Playing my piano, writing a requiem for me/Thinking I could clean up all the trouble from yesterday/Or hoping that my cigarette smoke would carry it away/I have come through the trouble of youth/But once in a while I still find myself/Naked in the kitchen, smoking in the hall, vacuuming the sofa trying to make sense of it all." There's the tender scar left by heartbreak in "Into My Heart," the raw need of "Eat Me," and the glorious celebration of the beloved's person in "Imperfection." Rock, pop, and classical textures swirl together, shimmering in the foreground, carrying the singer along, allowing her to open and look into the abyss without flinching. The effect is not one of catharsis, but of encounter, leaving the end result for the listener to determine. Fuller's musicality is head and shoulders above her peers; in her lush and textured version of musical and poetic realism she exposes Sarah Brightman for the pretentious phony she is, and in her willingness to go further and wider she makes Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan sound like they are spoiled children. This is adult music. It looks at the pop song as a way of expressing what is normally felt but nearly always hidden away; its expression of hope and willingness is tempered and strengthened by its wondrous candor and musical sophistication. Bravo.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/10/2004
  • Label: Umvd Labels
  • UPC: 602498631126
  • Catalog Number: 000305502

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Cigarettes and Housework (3:01)
  2. 2 Into My Heart (3:25)
  3. 3 Ghost in Your Room (3:38)
  4. 4 Outside My Window (3:12)
  5. 5 Eat Me (3:11)
  6. 6 Imperfection (3:39)
  7. 7 Happy to Be Sad (3:29)
  8. 8 Nothing Worthwhile (3:56)
  9. 9 Spin (3:18)
  10. 10 Praying (3:36)
  11. 11 Beautiful Invisible (4:45)
  12. 12 Lament - London Chamber Orchestra (2:51)
  13. 13 In the Mirror (5:30)
  14. 14 Jigsaw
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Rachel Fuller Primary Artist, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals
Pete Townshend Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Simon Townshend Acoustic Guitar
Mark Brzezicki Percussion, Drums
The London Session Orchestra Strings
Pino Palladino Bass
Gavyn Wright Leader
Stuart Ross Bass
Josh Phillips Keyboards
Liam Bates Conductor
Jolyon Dixon Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Pascal Glaville Chapman Stick
Jodie Hawkes Percussion, Drums
Sally Heath Piano
London Chamber Orchestra Strings
Jonathan Williams Cello, Soloist
Technical Credits
Jon Astley Mastering
Keith Grant Engineer
Pete Lewis Engineer
Joe Youle Composer
Rachel Fuller Composer, Producer, Orchestration
Myles Clarke Engineer
Terry McGough Art Direction
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The UK gives us another great

    Rachel has done a wonderful job with this record, the songs are extremely melodic, with beautiful arrangement and her lyrics are, well, open, heartfelt and honest. It's her voice that's the most remarkable thing for me, so vibrant and bright. Stand out songs for me were "Shine" and "Spin". I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more from this talented English Rose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Music to my ears.

    It seems there are only a handful of artists out these day who can sing, write and play their own instruments. Rachel Fuller is one of those rare artist. Her first album is honest and full of creative song writing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Whoaaaa....

    I haven't been so moved by an album since 1996 (Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill") as I have with "Cigarettes and Housework." I heard the song "Cigarettes and Housework" in December 2004 and bought the album in January 2005. I listen to it every other day. The voice of an angel, I swear it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    You need this one in your cd collection

    This is a sensational first album, the lyrics and music sent shivers down my spine. You really should have this in your collection, and I'd recommend seeing Rachel play live too, she's awesome. A rising star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A voice like a clear morning on the ocean

    Few singer songwriters of her generation have Rachel Fuller's astonishingly flawless voice and musical ability. What is so great is that she makes it sound easy and displays a kind and engaging wit in her lyrics.She keeps it sensual too and everyone should have copy in their home.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Music to Enjoy and Share

    A great idea for a stocking stuffer and a must have for your own CD collection, Cigarettes & Housework is a phenomenal mixture of intricate piano, sitrring guitar and soaring vocals. Devoid of the fluff heard from many new female vocalists, this album has laid the groundwork for Rachel to have an enduring career. I look forward to her future endeavors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Just amazing...

    Really stellar performance and great songs....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wow

    ok, while I only have the free sampler (as the disc isn't out yet), I can honestly say wow! I will be one of the first in line for this one. I first herd Rachel on a Delerium CD (and fell in love with her voice)... and now she has her own CD!!!! Go and get this, you won't be dissapointed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Sunday morning music

    I listened to a couple of tracks online and I was quite impressed. I have given the album a couple of listens and am well impressed. This is a beautiful voice and a good addition to my varied CD collection. This is the sort of stuff to listen to on a bright Sunday morning.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Soothing Balm for World-weary Souls

    Her voice is so clear...just heavenly. Her music is magical and I hope she gets the radio play she deserves.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews