Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular Review 

It’s been almost seven years since Rose Dougall’s first album Without Why. It was an inspired debut that balanced melancholy with direct Rock Pop. Sadly, it remained a hidden gem, lauded by a select few critics. A few weeks ago, Rose’s new album Stellular came in to the Records Sales Chart as a new entry at number one; knocking off none other than The Rolling Stones off the top spot and beating fellow new entry Brian Eno for good measure. This album has garnered more attention and has been featured more widely in the press which is no more than she deserves. Of course the proof lies in the music and her Future Vanishes EP in 2013 suggested a vibrant change of style was on the horizon. Has it came to pass? 

That shift in style is strongly felt with the lead singamd title track ‘Stellular’. It has that very keen sense of rhythm, but channeled through an Eighties Indie Pop track. Cascading synths take us from the verse to the chorus where Rose’s wistful vocals focus the buoyant sounds around her. It is a shifting and jiving piece of Pop music and as always it’s done with imagination with lyrics of emotional fragility Sifted through the guise of astronomy. It is an unrelenting track that leaves an indelible mark in your mind. ‘Strange Warnings’starts with a calm, Indie riff under a psychedelic disguise that then is suddenly yet all so easily pulled under a bass line that maintains a solid and arresting tune. The simple percussion also has the urgency of the rhythm being created. Rose joins in with her more haunting vocals as the steady build up of sound continues with the synths latching on too. It is a pure feast of groove and rhythm for which producer Boxed In deserves praise too. ‘Poison Ivy’ has a breezy and wistful flow to it from which melodic riffs peer through. Built on what are her easy and sweeping vocals, hidden behind all this are the sustained and complex percussion that maintains a steady rhythmic beat throughout the song and gives it a greater sense of depth and texture. The themes of jealousy, possession and power are projected out by the soothing vocals that are tinged with darker undercurrents in a smart contradiction to the ears. 

‘Take Yourself With You’ carries on the air of the Future Vanishes tracks, with the slack, sweeping production and the indelible melodies. This track has these themes wrapped around a bright and breezy pop swoon with the loose riffs and chiming synths, tinged with an aged warping sound. Wistful harmonies back up Rose’s calm vocals from which she occasionally explores some higher tones as she sings about reinventing yourself. ‘Closer’ is a punchy and slick piece of Pop that has elements of the Human League to it its sound and lyrical style. Each steady stab of the bass line is tinged ringing riffs at the end of each line. It’s a another track bursting with rhythm and hooks. ‘All at Once’ is an alluring electro-pop track made so with smooth, rolling instrumentation and Rose’s hushed tones.’Colour of Water’ has a light neo-psychedelic feel to it whilst ‘Hell and Back’ has relaxed elements of her earliest solo work. For the most part, Rose has fulfilled her ambitions with this album as it is vibrant, infectious and dynamic. Her complex and multi-layered narratives make every track an intriguing one, but perhaps there were a few towards the end of the album that didn’t need to be there. They were breezy and subtle tracks, but they don’t necessarily add to the Pop and energises core of the album. Nevertheless, it’s been well worth the wait and Stellular justifies the Popular and critical acclaim it’s received.

Rose Elinor Dougall – Stellular = 8/10

Owen Riddle 

EP Review – Bleached – For The Feel

The Californian Clavin sisters a.k.a Bleached are following on form their debut LP Ride Your Heart last year; they are back in time to spread some more lo-fi swooning and dreaming for those late, fading summer nights with it’s September 16th release. The title track was unveiled towards the end of June uses a driving jingle of guitars which are met with urgent and short percussion that tumbles to your feet before and during each chorus. Jen Clavin’s vocal sweeps over the track in a dreamy and classic pop rock fashion as it did so well for the duo’s debut last year. Besides that though it isn’t very much different as it was written for  The drums perhaps sound a little more upfront which sharpens the beat somewhat, but aside from that and a little more directness it’s very much Bleached circa 2012/13. ‘Poison Ivy’ is a steady, tumbling track with a classic rock bass line which the guitars shift and reverberate from. It sets up a simple structure that is mimicked by Jen’s vocal and lyrical delivery with a slight playfulness and cool nature. It’s more faithful to classic rock garage styles than most things they’ve done and it’s presented as a complete replica. The EP also includes a cover of the Damned’s ‘Born To Kill’ and so concludes an EP that hasn’t moved on so far from last year but one that has no intentions of doing so in the first place. It’s very much tying up loose ends for their fans and they still sound good so why not?


This Week’s Music Video with Karen O, Lily Allen, Gaslight Anthem, The Drums and Bleached

Karen O – Rapt


Lily Allen – As Long As I Got You


The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt


The Drums – Magic Mountain


Bleached – Poison Ivy

Single Review – Rose Elinor Dougall – Poison Ivy

Rose Elinor Dougall

First of all I’d like to apologise for misleading people about two months ago when Rose released ‘Strange Warnings’ and I reviewed it under the Album Taster title. It isn’t that. Its an EP called Future Vanishes and its out on November 18th. It is the first collection of her work since 2012’s Distractions EP but Future Vanishes is more of a follow up from the excellent Without Why from 2010. Another track from this is ‘Poison Ivy’ which has been produced by Oli Bayston; who she worked with for ‘Strange Warnings’ and whose Boxed In track I let you know about last week. So that ties all of that up together nicely doesn’t it? As well as that, Anthony Rossomando (Who must be a candidate for slickest surname ever) contributed to the musical arrangement. All credit to them two as well as Rose of course for the breezy and wistful flow of the song and the melodic riffs that peer through it. Built on that are her fluid and easy vocals that dance around amongst it all in her typical and continuing fashion. Sort of hidden behind all this is the sustained and complex percussion that maintains the steady rhythmic beat throughout the song and gives it a greater sense of depth and texture. In terms of the lyrics; she told The Quietus that its about jealousy, possession, power, battling ones weaknesses and trying to save love from ugliness. These themes are projected out by the soothing vocals that are tinged with darker undercurrents with ease. Its another great track that is on a more yearning and cascading level than the indelible groove and urgency of ‘Strange Warnings’

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