Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Something Real: A Quick Review Of The New Album From Rose Elinor Dougall

Rose Elinor Dougall still continues to surprise as an artist. On her latest album, A New Illusion, out on Friday, the former Pipette favors a more stripped-down approach that allows her always radiant songs to really shine in a new manner. A New Illusion is, in some respects, Rose's best record to date, and a collection of her most assured compositions so far.

Some numbers here, like "That's Where The Trouble Started", or the contemplative and lovely "Wordlessly", seem influenced in huge ways by the artists of the heyday of British folk, while the title cut on A New Illusion is chiming indie-pop that wouldn't have sounded at all out of place on Rose's first solo album nearly ten years ago. Elsewhere, "Take What You Can Get" mines a similar sort of vein while sounding a tiny bit like a Lush single, even as "Something Real" veers into more delicate territory. The melodies all throughout A New Illusion should feel familiar for anyone who's picked up any of her solo releases, but Rose's approach to the music here in 2019 is more deliberate, with the pieces of instrumentation, including from two members of Younghusband in her band here, more precisely placed, the hooks sharper as a result of being placed in starker setups.

And while those songs are all fine, it's "Too Much of Not Enough" and "Christina in Red" that reveal the real progression of Rose as an artist. If the former feels like some odd mix of material from Virginia Astley and Sandy Denny, the elegant "Christina in Red" is a neo-classical excursion that is downright breathtaking. Both numbers, like many here on this release, see Dougall, as co-producer, strip the compositions down to their basest elements, and then build them up again with carefully chosen bits of instrumentation, or sparser production styles. The entire approach here on this record feels different, such that A New Illusion suggests the start of a new era in Rose Elinor Dougall's career, and a necessary simplification of her established brand of indie-pop.

A New Illusion will be out on Friday and you can buy it here, or the usual online stores.

More details about Rose Elinor Dougall via her official Facebook page.

[Photo: Uncredited promotional image]