Rose Kemp – [Album]

Friday, 10 August 2007

“It is only just begun/…don’t forget to close your eyes” singer/songwriter Rose Kemp advises and comforts in the opening track, “Little One” – a fair, and thoughtful, warning to the listeners not knowing what is fast approaching. “How long is this? Will I fall asleep?”

Kemp hails from Bristol, England, home to many working artists of all mediums. Growing up around her parents’ folk-rock project, Steeleye Span, she found her voice and talent at an early age while performing alongside them, but eventually moved in her own direction. She was the key member in Maddy Prior and the Girls, an a cappella folk project, writing most of the tunes on Park Records 2002 release Bib and Tuck. She began to blossom as a solo act and then, thankfully, finally found a home in the more experimental rock sound that we find her on A Hand Full of Hurricanes.

The plick-pluck of the aforementioned opener lays down the red carpet for a foray into chartered territory – the dark, misunderstood corner of the female artist. Maybe she begins it as such to purposefully include herself in that forgettable coup only to make the actual arrival, when her range reaches high into the trees and pulls the listener out with the angular guitar/organ leading, suddenly, into the following track, “Violence.” From here, all thoughts of mediocrity and subsequent tossing-aside are quickly forgotten as one realizes this is incredible.

Now, with ears open and hands sweaty with anticipation, one is drawn even closer with the incredibly powerful a cappella “Tiny Flower.” From this point forward everyone involved realizes that anything is possible…and welcome. Whether it’s the confessional “Morning Music” or the lush “Metal Bird,” with its lush memorable chorus, she demands respect and commands an attentive audience, both of which are much deserved. The closer, “Sheer Terror,” sums everything up perfectly with the line, “Terror is a great way/To enforce your own rules.”

Woven intrinsically into each song is the knowledge of music and its moving bits – the melody can force a child to behave, the structure can make the jaded take notice. The sheer power of composition itself can change the “everyday” into “each waking hour,” either positive or negative. What she has done with the song is moving, nonetheless; we have an artist that recognizes this power and has employed it to the best of her knowledge – it is all we can ask and it is all she has given.

With an extraordinary voice, a commanding control over everything within reach, and a knowledge of what makes a song more than just a song, Rose Kemp has written an album that has to be only the beginning. We just have to wait for her order to continue.

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