Review of Blue Roses' debut album 'Eponymous'.
You may not have heard of Blue Roses. Similarly, you may not have heard of Laura Groves. But, whether you have or you haven't, you now know that they are one and the same. Laura recorded under her own name until just before Christmas when it was announced that her output would be under the pseudonym, because, she states: "I've been recording and working on new things throughout the year I feel like I'm in a different place musically to when I started out, so it seemed appropriate to become something new." At the tender age of 21, perhaps it's easier to relate such heartfelt subject matter from a more anonymous place. Or maybe she just liked the name. Whatever the truth, Groves is a truly precocious talent.
What is so immediately arresting on this, her debut album on Salvia/XL, is her haunting voice. To call her precocious is not to imply that she sounds mature beyond her years. In fact, it is the youthful naivety in her voice which is part of its appeal. But it is resoundingly beautiful and this, coupled with her curious and charming way of crafting a song, makes 'Blue Roses' an engaging record. Opener 'Greatest Thoughts' is lovelorn and dreamy in sentiment, but its melody soaring and ambitious. 'Rebecca' is perhaps the most straightforward track on the album but the simplicity of its refrain: 'You can do better, Becca,' is quietly touching. She continues to experiment with different instrumental layers throughout the album; it all comes together seamlessly but manages to avoid being formulaic.
She has been compared to the great Joni Mitchell, that oft-used and rarely deserved comparison. Though Groves is by no means the finished article yet, she probably one of the handful of singer-songwriters around at the minute that can weather the comparison. Both lovely and grandiose in it's intent, 'Blue Roses' speaks of a truly gifted artist.