On their fifth album we feel the closest we've ever been to the New York artist
Ever since appearing on the scene in the early 2010s with her debut, America Religious, the defining quality of Caroline Rose was the sense of clout and pop behind their vocals. It has a deep, guttural quality that belies the scope of their melodic range and, save a small slapping of reverb, seems like it hardly needs boosting from a producer.
Later on, when the New York artist took a step away from their earlier Americana sound for the synth-heavy pop of LONER and Superstar, the lyrics bloomed between instrumentation to feel like Rose had begun building their sound around their voice.
On their latest album, The Art Of Forgetting, released today (23 March) on New West Records, Rose steps even closer to the microphone. “Testing, testing/ Is this thing on?”
As a gorgeous twinkle of guitar spotlights them on opener ‘Love / Lover / Friend’, Rose asserts: “I am your love/ I am your lover/ I am your friend/ Your friend”. It’s as definite as the cathartic cry that comes later is soaring, alerting us of a new immediacy.
In a statement, Rose notes that until now, they’ve “shied away from being very confessional in the past because I’ve always felt that other artists have already carved out that path and are very good at it.” But you don’t need a press release to feel like a confidant; this is the closest we’ve got to Caroline Rose. ‘Jill Says’, with its soft and spritely, ballerina-like waltz, is named after their therapist, a dynamic we share as listener throughout: “Maybe my mother coddled me a little too much?/And I’ve suppressed all of this as an adult?”.
Dreams, memories and other deeply imbedded things that need to be shared are shared with cutting honesty. So much so that at times it takes concentration to focus on the backdrop, which pleasingly flits between hazy acoustics, punchy drums, sunbeam dust glints and jagged-edged guitars like it’s nobody’s business.
The Art of Forgetting feels like a reminder that, with a vocal delivery as direct as Rose’s, a record as confessional (and therapeutic) like this has long been calling out their name.