While the style of “Subtitulo” is more in the vein of singer-songwriters like Joseph Arthur and Dave Matthews, there is a conscious decision made by Rouse present on tracks like “Quiet Town” that incontrovertibly links eir with previous styles like Warren Zevon. There are quite a few deviations made by Rouse on “Subtitulo” that really makes listeners perk up; the lush instrumentation present on each of the tracks on “Subtitulo” are the largest of these deviations.
Even when Rouse has a largely guitar-based track like “Summertime”, there are a number of different things going on during the track that will keep individuals interested. For example, the human element of “Summertime” is not deleted; one can actually hear Rouse’s fingers slide over the guitar. When the very Spartan guitars, drums, and synthesizers add their own little bits to this track, listeners should be shocked at how light and airy the track stays even with all of these heavier-sounding instruments. The title of this album really should give listeners an idea of what Rouse is attempting to do with this disc; there is a seventies sound that is present that is tinged throughout with Latin influences. At the base level, however Rouse’s music is still something that individuals in 2006 can love and categorize as ultimately “new”. One is not only emotionally affected by the music on “Subtitulo”, but at the end of the album individuals are exhausted.
The lush instrumentation that is present throughout the disc, coupled with a soulful set of vocals and always-interesting arrangements make the album into an all-encompassing experience. It is not as if Rouse has created a few strong tracks and proceeded to fill the rest with chaff, but even off the wall tracks like “La Costa Blanca” (an instrumental song) are instant hits for Josh. Individuals that try to go and slap a label on Rouse will ultimately see that label slide off; there are simply too many styles present on “Subtitulo” to convince anyone that ey is indie rock or folk. “His Majesty Rides” is another one of these Spanish-influenced tracks; the song itself may just be the biggest success by Rouse on “Subtitulo” because it is shambling and twinkling with even more diverse and numerous styles than anything else previously. Never boring, “Subtitulo” will be an album that will find its way through the living rooms of all college students in just a few short weeks. Here’s to hoping individuals can see the beauty in “Subtitulo”.
Top Tracks: His Majesty Rides, Summertime
Josh Rouse – Subtitulo / 2006 Nettwerk / 10 Tracks / http://www.joshrouse.com / http://www.nettwerk.com / Reviewed 09 March 2006