wears the trousers magazine


blue roses: blue roses (2009)
May 13, 2009, 5:26 pm
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , , ,

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Blue Roses
Blue Roses ••••
XL 

Blue Roses is the new(ish) moniker for the Bradford-based artist formerly known as Laura Groves. Considering the steady hum of expectancy that’s been building up around her over the past two years, this recent name change is a bold move. Though in truth it’s perhaps designed to avoid comparisons with last year’s Mercury-nominated Laura Marling, Groves’s stated reasons are more artistic than ambitious. In a recent interview she said that she wanted to draw a line in front of her previous one-woman acoustic show and create a more ambiguous stage persona (see Bright Eyes, Bat For Lashes etc.) that would take on a life of its own and offer the freedom to experiment. Whatever the real reason, Blue Roses it is, and the name is suitably enigmatic. As blue roses don’t actually exist in nature, the flower has become a potent symbol for the strange but beautiful in modern culture, appearing in both Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie and David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’, as well as in the New Pornographers side project Hello, Blue Roses. Featuring a faded photograph of a barren coastal scene on its cover and no further clues as to what you might expect to find inside, this mysterious album leaves it to the music to do the talking.

What is concealed inside is an instant classic debut; a patient and timeless record that offers a welcome antidote to the frantic absurdity of modern life. Perhaps due to Groves choosing to record the album in the homes of family and friends in Yorkshire, Blue Roses sounds blissfully unaware of the latest music industry trends. Unlike current flavour of the month Natasha Khan, Groves seems to understand that it takes more than an ’80s drumbeat to channel the spirit of Kate Bush, creating something altogether more original and rewarding than many of her peers. Opening track ‘Greatest Thoughts’ twists and turns its way through a dark and rugged musical landscape until we’re left a little bit breathless and in need of a sit down. ‘Cover Your Tracks’ does the trick nicely, piano giving way to fingerpicked guitar, but with results that are no less enticing. Groves’s voice becomes almost choral, while the backing vocals conjure up images of the flight of angels, or possibly a cartoon snowman.

On album highlights ‘I Wish I…’ and ‘Does Anyone Love Me Now?’ Groves creates modern masterpieces that combine traditional English folk with Disney strings to paint emotional pictures without descending into sentimentality or triteness. Bizarrely, ‘Does Anyone Love Me Now?’ was initially written as an entry into a competition run by text messaging service AQA in which musicians were presented with a question and asked to write a song around it. Groves didn’t win but the result is perhaps the strongest song on the album so all was not in vain. Comparisons between Blue Roses and Joni Mitchell’s Blue (one of Groves’s most loved albums) are perhaps a little premature but not as undeserved as one might initially think. Groves has created 10 heartfelt songs that sound as beautiful and unique as both her inspiration and her namesake. It’s going to be a good year for Blue Roses.

Richard Steele
UK release date: 27/04/09; www.myspace.com/musicofblueroses

 

 


 

 

‘I Am Leaving’

 

 

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It’s a beautiful album :-)

Comment by Web Sheldon

[…] What we said then: “Featuring a faded photograph of a barren coastal scene on its cover and no further clues as to what you might expect to find inside, this mysterious album leaves it to the music to do the talking. What is concealed inside is an instant classic debut; a patient and timeless record that offers a welcome antidote to the frantic absurdity of modern life… Blue Roses sounds blissfully unaware of the latest music industry trends. Unlike current flavour of the month Natasha Khan, [Laura] Groves seems to understand that it takes more than an ’80s drumbeat to channel the spirit of Kate Bush, creating something altogether more original and rewarding than many of her peers.” •••• Richard Steele […]

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