Imagine taking Justin Vernon out of Bon Iver and replacing him with a female English vocalist; the results would probably sound akin to Bombay Bicycle Club’s backing vocalist’s, Lucy Rose, most recent independent release, Like I Used To.
Lucy Rose entered the music world on drums, but transitioned to guitar and songwriting in grade school, only to perform live during her college years. At this time she met Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club, appearing on Flaws and A Different Kind of Fix.
Rose’s latest release certainly has the musings of a post break-up album, but not in the sense that we’ve been commonly accustomed to. Comparable to Eels’s Electro-Shock Blues, Like I Used To begins to radiate a more optimistic view about halfway through the album, especially around the track “Be Alright,” where Rose begins to recognize that life goes on from whatever hardships she experienced in the past. “Bikes” is also surprisingly optimistic, also including a striking xylophone solo, reminiscent of when The White Stripes released Get Behind Me Satan, surprising everyone with xylophone features on the album.
The album doesn’t start out this way, however. Rose begins the album with “Red Face,” a track lamenting her relationship’s recent split. As the rhythm guitar breaks through the track it reveals Rose as less desperate and more accepting of the recent occurrences. This is certainly not your typical break-up album.
Rose’s musicality in the studio is, honestly, somewhat lacking. Most of the Middle of the Road consists of a simple acoustic guitar, with the occasional rhythm breakdown. Rose truly shines in concert though. Often accompanied by Björn Ågren, Sam Nadel, and Simba Bhebhe, the four create an incredible performance with a Jack White-esque rhythm guitar and grooving bass-lines. Combine these musicians together and Lucy Rose transforms from simply a female Bon Iver, into a sound not unlike Battles’ Gloss Drop album with an additional female vocalist. Lucy Rose’s live performance is able to win over a suspicious audience with the tip of a hat; many shows start slowly, but by the end, the audience wants an encore from the opening act themselves.
For a debut album, Middle of the Road is brilliant, yet it doesn’t quite set Lucy Rose as a master of her art form. Regardless, it is safe to assume that there will be more quality material produced by Rose and her gang of musicians in the future. Rose’s live performance though is truly spectacular, out-performing the studio album by a long shot.
by Zach Gordon
The album, “Glow and Behold,” is a solid sophomore effort for a band going through big changes; while not likely to generate much buzz amongst major bloggers, this album, with a sound fitting the fall season, is guaranteed to be a perennial slow and steady burner.
Two years ago, Yuck emerged on the scene from England with their debut eponymous album establishing them as a major buzz band, one reminiscent of indie icons such as Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, and Built to Spill. And now they return to the scene, but without their original front man, Daniel Blumberg. Instead of replacing Blumberg with an outside singer, Max Bloom took over, and with fine results.
As is often the case with bands returning from a critically acclaimed debut album, Yuck’s second LP comes out with a notably different sound. Perhaps what is most noticeable is the addition of horns through out various songs. For many this would signify a large development in progression or change. But for Yuck, the addition of horns only adds to the shoegaze feel of their sound. This second album has less aggressive bite, but has soothing tones that fit the fall release date of the album.
The album introduces itself with a gorgeous instrumental song, “Sunrise in Maple Shade.” With an acute ear for guitar and keyboard layering, this first track begs to be longer than the short three minutes that it lasts. This first track sets the mood of the rest of the album’s sound, which identifies for me the most with fall. The slow build of guitars added with the synth and horns demonstrate perfectly the slow and building beauty of maple and oak glowing yellow and red in the fall time.
The most aggressive track on this album, and perhaps most reminiscent of Yuck’s debut album is the single “Middle Sea.” This song is a classic in lo-fi and shoegaze, and would well have fit on Yuck’s debut, but the song fits well with the rest of the album’s autumnal tendencies while still tethering this much changed band’s sound to their original buzzworthy fuzz-rock.
Overall, this is a solid album. It won’t be a major buzz album like Haim’s debut or Au Revoir Simone’s return to the scene after four years. It won’t compete for the same attention as Chvrches’ debut. But it has a certain amount of staying power, a certain amount of seasonal gusto that will bring this album out for fall music sessions for years to come. Glow and Behold is a well-crafted and highly listenable album, perfect for a cool dry night with heavy wool sweaters.
by Austin Dixon