Laura Groves – Committed Language (EP)

18 02 2015

committedThis is Laura Groves second EP, the follow-up to 2013’s dreamlike Thinking About Thinking (EP).

You might be aware of Laura’s previous work as Blue Roses, and the often raw, inspired by the northern landscape acoustic songs from their 2009 debut (and only) album. The music released under Laura’s own name is much more layered and electronic, though still finding the space to add guitar and live bass to good effect on some songs.

EP opener Committed Language could have jumped straight out of your dusty old cassette copy of Now That’s What I Call Music 1984 – with it’s warm analogue Japan‘esque synths, and off-kilter percussion. I hear some of the playful song-arrangements of Todd Rundgren, and the electronic experimentation of Chimera era Bill Nelson in some of Grove’s recent material, and Committed Language is no exception to this.

Dream Story has grown from the demo version that I heard online around 3 years ago, and is now driven by production (especially the bass and drum machine) that recalls Fleetwood Mac‘s Tango In The Night. Dream Story takes a few wonderful diversions along the way, and the lead-in to the chorus is as smooth as the world’s smoothest thing. And that’s smooth.

Have a listen to a stream of the song from Laura’s SoundCloud page below.

Friday is a piano and rhodes ballad, that slowly builds as sugar-sweet backing vocals flit around the lead vocal. The most direct arrangement on this 4 song EP, and a moving song.

lgroves

The EP closes with Mystique, a slow-burning jazzy track. Hazy chorused guitar washes through a song Steely Dan would be proud of (if they didn’t spend 45 years perfecting the reverb on the snare). Mystique repays your faith after repeated listens, as new highlights make themselves known to you as this haunting song really gets under your skin.

I recently bought a wonderful yacht pop / yacht rock compilation called Too Slow For Disco, and the tracks on this EP would not have sounded out-of-place in that era, the magical period between 1975 and the mid 1980s. The 80s are often described as being a light, superficial musical decade, but a lot of colourful, adventurous music was released during that time – it wasn’t all Wham! and Haircut 100.

The jazz inflections, bold arrangements and synth / rhodes layers give the music on this EP a warm, nostalgic identity that fits the sad songs on Committed Language. Now, where is that album Laura?

“I think I’m ready now, bring back the mystery…”

Buy Laura Groves – Committed Language (EP) on bandcamp

Buy the Blue Roses CD on Amazon

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Laura Groves – Thinking About Thinking EP

29 09 2013

"Thinking About Thinking" EPLaura Groves (who previously recorded under the moniker Blue Roses) has released her first new solo material since 2009, with the digital (and vinyl) release of the Thinking about Thinking EP on Deek Recordings.

The opening track, Inky Sea, has a real late night feel, with the dark rhodes piano and layered 80s keyboards reminding me of Cliff Martinez‘s Drive soundtrack.

The music has progressed from 2009’s mostly acoustic Blue Roses album, and benefits from a much wider production palette.

After the beatless opening song, Pale Shadows is driven by a tight drum machine track, and back to the 80s again, has hints of China Crisis The Cocteau Twins in the instrumentation, topped off with a very Robert Smith like guitar riff. It’s probably my favourite of the 4 tracks, with hints of Fleetwood Mac in the chorus (always a good thing!)

Sadly, a by-product of the post-CD age, it’s impossible to tell who is playing on the tracks as there are no liner notes with this digital release.

“When the walls break down, it’s a beautiful thing”

Laura Groves

Easy Way Out sneaks in a crafty bossa-nova beat and a strong bassline to underpin the complex, ever-evolving arrangement, that grabs you after repeated plays.

The title track of Thinking About Thinking slows down the tempo of the EP, and has a real USA West-Coast vibe, with hints of mid-70’s Todd Rundgren seeping through to my wise old brain.

At times, the close harmonies remind me of Prince‘s sublime Sometimes It Snows In April from the Parade album.

I hope the EP is a taster for a new album in the not-too-distant future. If you liked the Blue Roses album, or are a fan of early Kate Bush, this EP will be something you will want to investigate, so go on, treat your ears.

Buy the EP

Buy Laura Groves – Thinking About Thinking EP from Bandcamp

Other releases

Buy the Blue Roses album from Amazon

Buy the Does Anyone Love Me Now? EP (featuring Grammatics) and the excellent First Frost Night on Amazon

Buy the I Am Leaving Single (featuring the wonderful Moments Before Sleep) from Amazon





Blue Roses – Moments Before Sleep

7 09 2009

Blue Roses debut album (2009)

One of the best debut albums I have heard in a long, long time. A virtually beat-free album, with layered vocals, underpinned with acoustic guitar, piano and electronics, and hints of folk music.  Laura Groves aka Blue Roses is from Shipley, and there several tracks, such as Can’t Sleep and Coast that could only really come from West Yorkshire.
The albums standout tracks is “I Wish I…” (if this track doesn’t melt your heart, you are made of stone). Just piano and voice, and a string quartet towards the middle of the song, this is one of those songs that could have been recorded at any time in the past thirty years, its untouched by technology, and is all the betetr for it.
“But when he touched my hand like it was gold,
Well I want to pull away and say,
“Look, it’s only…well it’s only made from plain old skin and bone”
The Kate Bush comparisons are an easy (but valid) reference point, but Blue Roses have none of the theatrics of Kate Bush’s early work, and live performances are all about the music, which is powerful and emotive.
Rebecca is the only song to feature electric guitar and percussion, and breaks up the album with its discordant opening, but then the magic kicks in and the song goes to another place.
“Let me sit and watch you working, I won’t be a pain.
You will not notice me at all.”
The album was apparently recorded on a shoestring, with studio-time, borrowed grand pianos and choirs from the local pub, all grabbed when they were available, not that you can tell. There’s a real warmth and clarity to the songs on this album, and the constant touring and support of Radio 2 will hopefully raise the albums profile over the coming months.
The direction of the next album release will be interesting, as recordings released after this album was recorded point to a different direction, with less acoustic guitar and more experimentation with different production techniques.  Single “b” side (is there such a thing anymore, in the digital age?) Moments Before Sleep is a lo-fi wonder, but as magical as anything on the album.  The most recent recording released was an enchanting cover of The Beatles Golden Slumbers from Mojo magazine’s Abbey Road Now compilation.
Greatest Thoughts
Cover Your Tracks
I Am Leaving
Can’t Sleep
I Wish I…
Coast
Does Anyone Love Me Now?
Doubtful Comforts
Rebecca
Imaginary Flights
XLCD 411 UK Release April 2009 / US Release July 2009

One of the best debut albums I have heard in a long, long time. A virtually beat-free album, with layered vocals, underpinned with acoustic guitar, piano and electronics, and subtle hints of folk.

Laura Groves aka Blue Roses is from Shipley, and there are several tracks, such as Can’t Sleep and Coast that could only really come from West Yorkshire.

The albums standout track is I Wish I… (if this song doesn’t melt your heart, you are made of stone). Starting off with just piano and voice, and adding a string quartet towards the middle, this is one of those songs that could have been recorded at any time in the past thirty years.

I Wish I… is untouched by technology, and is all the better for it.

“But you’ve got your eye on the door.
This is what my life is for.
I’ll pray that you won’t drop your anchor here.”

The Kate Bush comparisons are an easy (but valid) reference point, but Blue Roses have none of the theatrics of Kate Bush’s early work, and live performances are all about the music, which is powerful and emotive.

Rebecca is the only song to feature electric guitar and percussion, and breaks up the album with its discordant opening, but then the magic kicks in and the song heads off to another place.

“Let me sit and watch you working, I won’t be a pain.
You will not notice me at all.”

The album was apparently recorded on a shoestring, with studio-time, borrowed grand pianos and choirs from the local pub, all grabbed when they were available, not that you can tell. There’s a real warmth and clarity to the songs on this album, and the constant touring and support of Radio 2 will hopefully raise the albums profile over the coming months.

The direction of the next album will be interesting, as the recordings released after this debut was recorded point to a different direction, with less acoustic guitar and more experimentation with production techniques.  Single “b” side (is there such a thing anymore, in the digital age?) Moments Before Sleep is a lo-fi wonder, but easily as magical as anything on the album.  The most recent Blue Roses recording released was an enchanting cover of  The Beatles Golden Slumbers from Mojo magazine’s Abbey Road Now compilation.

Tracklisting:
Greatest Thoughts / Cover Your Tracks / I Am Leaving / Can’t Sleep /
I Wish I… / Coast / Does Anyone Love Me Now? / Doubtful Comforts /
Rebecca / Imaginary Flights

Lyrics quoted © Blue Roses
XLCD 411 UK Release April 2009 / US Release July 2009

Buy Blue Roses on Amazon UK
Buy Blue Roses on Amazon US








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