Lady Rose is a Nottingham based, award winning duo comprising of Joanne and James Mather. Their sound ranges from anything from soul to pop to reggae, to pop/rock, spanning a wide range of genres and drawing from all sorts of different inspirations. Another one of my requested reviews, I’d not heard about them until I was suggested them by a colleague of mine, so I thought I’d check out their debut EP, Journey, and see what I thought!
The opening track and title track of the EP, Journey, opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar riff, full of open chords and a lot of emotion. Then Joanne’s incredible vocals come in, really adding even more to the beauty of the song. Her voice sounds so unique, and the control she has over it is outstanding, being able to not only hit some high notes but also easily weave her way back down the octave afterwards, an incredible soul-singer style. If I’m honest, I was that distracted by the vocals that it took me a minute to realise there is also piano in this, subtly adding to the guitar, creating a solid backdrop. The lyrics are amazing too, talking about having that special someone by your side to help you through life. I was so wrapped up in the music, in fact, that the guitar solo completely caught me off guard. While at first it came out of nowhere, it soon fit in perfectly and added yet another amazing layer to the song. It was pretty technical yet also followed the melody of the vocals perfectly, too, walking the tough line between showing how good you are and adding emotion to the song very well! A mellow, calm, beautiful song and a great way to start an EP!
It’s a Shame instantly picks up the pace a little, a faster acoustic guitar riff that is almost immediately followed by vocals. Immediately I can hear the heavy Amy Winehouse influences in this track, and I love it. The slightly more attitude and lower vocals sound great from Joanne and we also get some vocals from James in this track too that also sound awesome, filled with power and attitude. The two work well off each other, usually alternating two lines each in the verse but the occasional harmonies are awesome, too. The chorus, while staying at the same lower level, is great, having a real Jazz club feel to it. The guitar solo follows the same sort of feel, lower in both the mix and in the notes, but it is still just as impressive as the previous song, if not more so. If anything I feel like I hear Santana/Mark Knopfler in there. The rhythm guitaring in the background is awesome, too, the fast notes between the chords sounding awesome. My favourite song on the EP so far and one that instantly made the playlist!
Free is a little slower again, more beautiful acoustic guitar chords and beautiful vocals. Some more emotional, thought provoking lyrics too, a real strong point of the EP so far. However, I do have to admit, this song did sound just a little too much like the first song. Not that that is a bad thing at all, both songs are great, it’s just that for my review purposes, having two songs sound similar on a four track EP means I don’t have too much more I can say about the second one! The only major difference is the lack of a guitar solo in this one, instead a short, beautiful piano solo taking it’s place.
The final song on the EP, No More, starts of slow and with more awesome guitar work. More beautiful vocals and lyrics, but this one really feels like more of a ballad than the others, purposefully slower because of the lyrical content. Again, the highlight of the song is Joanne’s incredible control over her voice, being able to change notes seamlessly like only the very best soul singers can, showing off her incredible talent. That’s not to take away from James, though, who I imagine has been the acoustic guitarist through a lot of this, who’s playing has been incredible. A beautiful breakup(ish) song, one of the best I’ve heard in a while, and a really great way to finish an album.
Overall this was amazing. A short but beautiful, mellow EP that gave a taste of exactly what the duo can do and are about, while also providing the listener with some great songs in the process. While I’m typically more of a fan of more upbeat and rocky stuff, I will be happily listening to this over and over multiple times in the next few weeks, I’m sure!
Review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths