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Rose Elinor Dougall - Without Why

Poppy enough for the casual listener, but with enough artistic integrity for the more serious fans.

Since leaving The Pipettes in 2008 Rose Elinor Dougall has been busy, if a little under the radar. The string of singles that have appeared under her name have all been pretty well received, and latterly she’s been recording with Mark Ronson whilst finding time to get ‘Without Why’, her solo debut, together. It’s pure coincidence that it’s arriving so close to the eventual release of The Pipettes second record, and means that we feel obliged to compare the two.

They’re nothing alike.

‘Earth Vs The Pipettes’ is a big camp glossy affair. ‘Without Why’ is a gentle Sunday morning pop album, where the whimsical styles are laid over confidently delivered and sturdy structures. To pinpoint some influences we’d point to The Apples In Stereo and at a push Nancy Sinatra, with most of the songs pointing towards a vague ’60s vibe although you’d be hard pushed to call them retro.

Now, before we get to gushing about how gorgeous Rose’s voice is it’s imperative to mention her talents with regards to songcraft. It’s handled with such a deft touch that people coming to her straight from ‘We Are The Pipettes’ may be a little shocked. It’s more than a little possible to get carried away on the sound of that aforementioned voice, even without paying attention to the words, that the ears make the assumption that it’s all delicacy and no kick. This isn’t the case in reality. ‘Carry On’ for instance opens with some crunching guitar that recalls some of British Sea Power’s more full-on moments.

Whilst this writer would point to ‘Carry On’ as a personal highlight there’s plenty of other tracks that can be pointed to as strong enough to stand up on their own. The fact that several of them have as singles (albeit as slightly different recordings) is testament to this: ‘Another Version of Pop Song’, ‘Start/Stop/Synchro’ and the utterly delightful ‘Fallen Over’ all fit into this category. ‘Come Away With Me’ deserves mention as the best of the slower songs, whereas the more jazzy ‘Watching You’ would be a little more creepy if it wasn’t so repetitive.

Quite simply ‘Without Why’ is poppy enough for the casual listener but with enough ideas and artistic integrity for the more serious fans. Rose’s Mark Ronson collaborations are due to come out soon, and we’re hoping that if her cards get played right Ms Elinor Dougall could get the chance to cross over that her debut album is deserving of.

Tags: Rose Elinor Dougall, Reviews, Album Reviews

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