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Caroline Rose – Loner Review

A diverse rock album whose hidden depths will pull your triggers… TO DANCE!

Caroline Rose’s new album for 2018 is an interesting crossover album of different types of rock, most notably time periods. Whilst Caroline will blast out angry riffs and shout and scream like the rest of our favourite rockers, there’s also a huge 60’s influence throughout what she does. Her previous album was a little more like an alternative country album but here, we’re moving towards a dirtier side of rock and I love it because of how diverse it is.

Caroline Rose

Opening up with the warm anthem of “More of the Same” the guitars and organs have a vintage filter passed through them as they interplay motifs with each other. The drums are simple but come to the chorus and everything elevates into a rock shoop shoop. It’s catchy and inviting as its simplicity and seemingly positive sound betrays the lyrics that moan about a lack of change, which I found ironic considering how the sound will constantly change throughout the rest of the album. “Cry” shifts focus to something more 80’s tinged with a running synth bass line merging with thick guitars and a great hook. The electronica-tinged rock is a radio hit in waiting although it has a wonderful paranoia-inducing b-movie middle 8 where everything goes spooky. “Money” then goes Carina Round on us with a heavy country rock riff that’s speeding through at 180mph as Caroline spits out her distaste over the reasons she didn’t do something for. Come the chorus, along come wailing sirens, thick grunting guitars and a sidestepping drumbeat. It’s the kind of song that you may dismiss as a throwaway silly song but I’ve had it on repeat too many times for it to be downgraded to one of those. It’s fantastic.

In this ever-shifting album of rock types, we move into the early 70’s with synth and church organ inspired psych-rock with “Jeannie Becomes A Mom”. There’s an RnB undertow to the track with all the synth bass lines, trippy beats and airy ambience that lightens the mood. “Getting To Me” then pushes towards the folk-rock side of things with plucked violins, electro-acoustic guitars and Caroline Roses’ voice being higher and brighter. Throughout most of the album her voice is given a light crispy megaphone tone but here it’s a little more natural and softer and it really suits the track. Is it Shania Twain? Hell no – this folksy rock still has bite. That bite surfaces with the dark and mysterious late-night groove of “To Die Today” which has cheap synths sliding in and out of dark ambience, lazy guitar playing and quirky call and response lyrics. It’s one of the few quieter moments on the album but “Soul No.5” blasts that out of the water with what I’ll call carnival rock. Seaside organs are in full flow as Caroline Rose takes on surfer rock but in a vintage grunge overtone. The way how she can flip between types of rock, but the album still feels coherent is astounding. Moreover, all the songs are catchy in a good way (i.e. you won’t want to bash your head in). “Smile” leads into the chatty “Bikini” which sticks with this surfer country rock. It’s lyrics joyfully sing from the point of a company that is telling a girl that she’ll need to wear ‘this little bikini… AND DANCE!” You’ll be dancing away but you’ll also be very aware at the daggers Caroline is stabbing into the people ordering women to do this because the happiness of every word sung is sarcastic to the Nth degree. “Talk” shifts focus again to dark synth rock and is possibly my favourite track on the album. It has this slow-motion disaster feel as the chords and overall oppressive sound gives you the impression of impending dread and uncertainty. The album ends with the anthemic “Animal” which is probably the most straightforward rock on the album and in doing this, Rose’s voice takes centre stage as she cries out the hooks increasingly more distraught and desperately as if she’s looking for something to make her feel human again. It’s a powerful way to end and completes what is a very theatrical album in style.

Caroline Rose’s Loner is a fantastic album for rock fans. There are so many twists musically that will keep your ears pin pricked for new sounds and ideas, and the lyrics are pointed enough to give you a base level of thought but there’s enough there to think of interpretation too. Loner deserves to be paired with many listeners around the globe. Get it.

Recommended track: Talk

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Caroline Rose - Loner


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