An acoustic guitar and a voice can be a beautiful thing. In 2015 however, a time in which the Internet is saturated with acoustic and neo-folk singers ad-nauseam, an artist has to have something special to stand out within the sea of mediocrity.
Lucy Rose, like her British peer, Laura Marling is just such an artist who was able to catch the attention of many in a genre which produces multitudes of generic clones. Her debut record, “Like I Used To” featured outstanding tracks such as “First” “Night Bus” and “Middle of the Bed.” Conversely, it also contained a good dose of “Starbucks” music. That’s to say, music that’s pleasant enough yet safe, inoffensive and often forgettable.
Fans and music industry people were wise not to dismiss Rose as another predictable folkie. Her latest record “Work It Out” reveals a woman who retains her natural style, yet is branching out from less rainy day folk to more sunny day pop/folk.
Opening track “For You” sets the Lucy Rose stage with imploring folk with just enough electronic instruments added to reflect the change in sound that is to come on the rest of the album. “Our Eyes” becomes even more upbeat with an added instrument that sounds like a marimba or something similar, to give off a slightly African flavor. “Like an Arrow” with its slight country flavor is arguably Rose’s furthest departure from her folk output. The track clearly sounds like one that will be radio friendly to large audiences. Rose’s majestic vocal delivery is one that falls between Sade, Feist and Sinead O”Connor. The song’s accessibility will likely gain Rose new fans who will want to look into more of this record as well as her back catalog. This more mainstream sound is undoubtedly a result in no small part to producer Rich Cooper, known for his work with Mumford and Sons.
As Rose incorporates new sounds including eighties keyboards and modern, bass-driven beats, she never completely abandons her at times wispy, at times husky, folk vocals. The beefing up of these sounds is an ambitious endeavor for an artist who is only putting out her second album. Lyrically/vocally, she has branched out as well. Present here are shorter, stronger bursts of pop delivered hooks than her previous efforts. All of this boils down to an eighties-sounding summer record that is an overall mix of quasi-new wave sounds with pastoral folk.
With “Work it Out,” Lucy Rose has delivered on her intentions of this record to “Sort a few things out. Who I am. What I Do.” She has shifted gears just enough so as not to lose her musical personality. With this adventurous spirit, fans will likely be anticipating what new direction she will try next with future records.
Top Tracks: Like an Arrow/Shelter