Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Blue Roses - Blue Roses (XL/Salvia 2009)

Blue Roses is actually Laura Groves, a West Yorkshire-bred acoustic female singer-songwriter with a voice pitched somewhere between Bjork and Joni Mitchell, and a delicate instrumental touch pitched between Simon & Garkfunkel and Joanna Newsom. Her little-girl-lost voice soars over carefully picked acoustic guitar melodies, while the occasional flurry of piano or maracas and other percussive engines push the song past the acoustic singer-songwriter post. His ghostly folk consists of found instruments complimenting the omnipresent guitar, adding a fragmented spectral layer to the music, an alabaster texture of purity. She sings about love and loss and all those other staples of the acoustic female singer-songwriter, lacking the vision and attention to detail of someone like Emmy the Great, but makes up for it with the impressive range of her voice and how she is able to harness harmonies and melodies out of disjointed vocal arrangements. ‘Doubtful Comforts’ is evidence of this melancholy medley of sounds working together as an aural collage of beauty and quiet serenity. The kalimba tinkles and slides around your ears like falling coins, persuading your swoons to induce themselves. It has an eerie sound quality. Elsewhere, on songs like ‘Does Anyone Love Me Now?’ her emotions are kept in check by a steadily plucked guitar and impressive vocal falsetto eruptions. Where most songs bleed into each other, these two stand out, as do others where harmonium and harmonica duel or where the textures laid down by the found instruments bolster up the sound beyond simple standard fare. This is impressive stuff from a prodigious talent with still a lot left to give, and as she grows so will the sound. In the meantime, this is a great introduction to a soon-to-be force to be reckoned with.


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