Today, Gracie and Rachel announce their hotly anticipated sophomore album Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong, a cathartic near-psychological sonic exploration through the mind that will be released September 18th via Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. The alchemic pairing of keyboardist-vocalist, Gracie Coates, and violinist, Rachel Ruggles, celebrate today’s announcement with the release of the compelling visual companion to album cut, “Underneath”. The video finds the duo (who FLAUNT call “the epitome of harmonious duality”) stripping away layer upon layer until they are down to their exposed bare essence; each article of clothing representing the superficial narratives that falsely define who we think we’re supposed to be, covering up the core of our existences.
WATCH HERE / LISTEN ON DSPS HERE
Balancing starkness with ornateness, dark with light, beautiful freedom with crippling fear, and universal clarity with vulnerable specificity, Hello Weakness, You Make Me Strong is a collection forged in the fires of personal growth that rings clearly with an overarching message of empowerment. Over the ten tracks, strings swirl and pop with pizzicato accents, vocals weave together with angelic harmony, and ethereal melodies carry lyrics which read like a poetic exorcism.
Learning to wield your supposed flaws as a tool for triumph is the heart of the album; it’s explored in-depth on tracks like “Ideas” (which NPR spotlighted on a recent episode of All Songs Considered and Atwood Magazine called an “empowering reflection on deconstruction as a means of progress”), “Sidelines” (an ode to taking ownership of and finding pride in your own thoughts), “Undo” (a Socratic reflection on the power of knowing nothing as a way to learn everything), and “Trust” (partially inspired by the #MeToo movement, focused on the process of learning to speak your own language, believe in your instincts, and write your own narrative).
“Making this record was equal parts frustrating and fulfilling,” said Gracie about the creation of the album. “We had to ask each other some tough questions, let go of our egos in the process of answering those questions, and find the ways in which our weaknesses can give us strength. We pushed one another to keep going when we weren’t sure we could, and we tried to stay steadfast in that mission.”
Rachel added that “this record helped us get through our relationship, our counterproductive internal dialogues and our subsequent stunted output, and it truly guided us in these ways to be more open. The record really knows a lot more about communication and perseverance than we do, and for that we’re so grateful.”
The journey from high school juniors assigned to work together on a school project to beloved musical enchantresses who NPR has said, “mix pop and classical in stark, infectious ways” and “make unforgettable, surprising music,” has partially been defined by the chemistry between its two creators: Gracie bringing a free-spirited creativity to her songwriting that juxtaposes with the disciplined classical mindset of Rachel to create truly magical results.