Single Review / Album Taster – Rose Elinor Dougall – Take Yourself With You

Just over a year after the release of one of the finest EP’s of the 2013 with Future Vanishes Rose Elinor Dougall returns with the track ‘Take Yourself With You’; an album track from her ‘soon to come’ second studio album entitled STELLULAR which is likely to be unveiled around five years after her Without Why debut in 2010. The track 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. She revealed to the Quietus that the lyrics are about “learning to accept to exist within that might be a way to be truly liberated instead of running away” and trying to reinvent yourself. Unlike the irremovable catchiness and infectious groove and rhythms of ‘Strange Warnings’ or ‘Future Vanishes’ this track is a more light and relaxed affair; more reflective. It suggests early on that the album will have a sense of depth a scale to it; an album she worked on with Oli Bayston as she did with last years EP. From that evidence and this simple, yet easy track it looks like STELLULAR is something to look forward to.

Sunday Suggestion – Rose Elinor Dougall – Find Me Out

Rewind back to 2010 and you’d find a far more shy and awkward version of myself with a faithful Beatles haircut and enough emotional baggage to last a life time. Without sounding too cliché; my home at the time was not a safe haven to relax in, but a living nightmare. It had been that way for about a year and little did I know, it would be that way for a couple more. Aside from my friends (who I decided not to pull down with my baggage for a long while) and the mainstays of my life like F1 and other things, music had become a welcome escape and one I completely immersed myself in. At first I rewound back into times I had no connection to and found the likes of The Beatles, The Clash, Bowie, Simon & Garfunkel… all which were the best distractions I could have ever had. However, discovering music from the present was a little more refreshing and engaging for me and one of those was Rose Dougall. Aside from immediately falling into one of those dazed, teenage crushes with her, her music provided that little glimmer of hope or common ground in a little over three minutes. Plans of escape I made while listening to her Without Why album are fast becoming plans for the rest of my life. One song which appealed to me massively was ‘Find Me Out’. It had a musical feel and mood to match my own outlook at the time and everything from the title to the lyrics seemed to speak of my situation. The song opens with a forlorn and distant whistle along with equally fading synths before continuing with wiry and reassuring violin sounds and a simple snare drum and brush glaze. It would be easy to listen to a song that would allow you to vent your anger with an angry and snarling vocal, but I always went for Rose’s easy, breathy and intimate method on this track. The music and vocals of such a wonderfully simple and swooning track are offset by lyrics such as ‘My liver, my lungs, my arteries and my cerebral faculties are corroded’ which produced that clear and very present pain and draining feeling I had myself. It was more of a soothing track for me which got me through many a busy day at school knowing the frustrations that lay at home, but also one that sort of helped me deal with my situation at the time and simply get on with it. Her music has grown much more advanced and has new dimensions which I enjoy just as much if not more, yet songs like this while simple, still have a real connection for me.

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Album Taster – Rose Dougall – Strange Warnings

In an odd sort of way; I owe much of my taste in music to Rose. For years I was wrapped up in the 60’s through to the 90’s and that alone. Discovering her music made me realise that you could still find that creativity today. Her debut album: Without Why came into fruition because of that creativity. It featured simple elements of Folk, Psychedelic, Pop and proper Indie music and displayed them in such an eloquent fashion with a rich, soulful and haunting vocal all rolled into one to channel her personal and considered lyrics through it. Naturally the album had lots of depth and scale to it as well and she made a record far better than most British acts on a hell of a lot less money and demands. But that work was finalised in 2010. Last week she unveiled a new track called ‘Strange Warnings’ which is from her new album. I read about a year ago that there was a desire to put a lot of features from her time working with an amazing set of musicians alongside Mark Ronson into her second album which seemed like an interesting idea if not one I was unsure about too. However if ‘Strange Warnings’ is anything to go by; then she has made an exciting step up from Without Why which as I alluded to, was packed full of creativity. It 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 damn catchy tune and simple percussion that has the urgency of the rhythm being created. Rose joins in with her more haunting vocal but matched to the rhythm and groove of the instrumentals for a great combination. The steady build up of sound continues as the synths latch on too and it really whips up an anticipation that can’t be created when you go in all guns blazing, one second into the track plus there are even more varied percussion elements to keep this going and going. The groove delight and the rhythm feast have an easy melody to it as well as Rose’s vocals add a sense of calm balance to the music going on around her. The effects to her vocals are only subtle and don’t kill off her wholesome voice nor the music and she largely doesn’t need any to make her voice stand out as it has the ability to sit above it while still sort of blend in to the wave of sound that those like Kevin Parker can pull off so well. The lyrics are at least just as good as those from Without Why which she explained to The Quietus that “it deals with the idea of trying to find something to grab hold of when everything feel intangible and confused, amongst other things.” They were worked on with Oli Bayston who she also talks very highly of. All in all ‘Strange Warnings’ has really got me excited for the rest of the album which looks to be a rhythmic and groove fairing venture. There was sort of a feel of some people who have been like ‘where on earth have you gone?’ But if her next album is anything like this then it will be well worth the wait.

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