The latest album from English songwriter Lucy Rose is beautiful but intense. She tells Carley Hall that it will grow on you like beer, wine and olives.
It’s early for English singer Lucy Rose ("It’s 7:30am, it’s pretty much the middle of night") when The Music speaks to her, and today, in the weeks before the release of her fourth album, she's contemplating a whole other seismic shift in her daily existence.
“I’m moving house. I’m leaving London after 13 years and moving to Brighton. On the same day my album is released. Do you think that’s a good idea? It’s time for a change. And I can come back if I hate it, it’s not like it’s that far. I’m moving 50 minutes down the road for goodness sake and I’m like, ‘Oh God.’ I’m pretty worried about coffee. I’ve got the most amazing coffee shop around the corner of my house now, and I had thought, ‘Geez, maybe I just won’t go.’”
Rose's thoughts, questions and anxious ruminating unravel in our chat in a breathy, warm tone. It’s the sort of conversation that is natural and easy, but an awful lot of ground is covered as these intense musings arise and collide, one after the other.
Her tendency towards contemplation could very well explain the complexity and depth of No Words Left, an album that Rose herself confirms as “the different one”, and it is – with its lyrically tense, transfixing melodies and intriguing instrumentation, it’s a distinct shift in sound at nearly a decade into her career of making powerful yet approachable folk/indie-rock gems. What’s inspired this newfound intensity?
“I spend every waking minute of my day analysing every feeling that I have."
“I don’t know, I feel like after every record you’re like, ‘Yeah this is me, I’ve really found myself on this one,’” Rose laughs. “And then six months later you’re like, ‘Oh God, it was all a lie.’ You’re always excited about a new record and you somehow want to think it’s more authentically you. I guess I don’t know where it’s come from. It’s just the nature of things and curiosity for trying something else.
“I think this one has turned out the way it has is for a multitude of reasons. Touring without a drummer because I can’t afford to take a band with me, having freedom to play outside of rhythm, has been liberating. Doing more stuff on the guitar has led me to being the master of my own pace on this record. I’ve just been able to reach that point where I’m like, ‘Fuck it, if they don’t like it, I don’t care.’”
The sonic shift has seen Rose incorporate some sax and strings with her sighing but forceful vocal, making for a beautiful and often unsettling listen. Musically, it’s diverse. Lyrically, it’s intense. Lead single Solo(w) laments, “But I can’t help it when I am so low/Pretending like I have a purpose/Well, now that’s long gone/Something’s missing/When I am solo, so low, solo, so low.”
“The content of the songs, I don’t know why I wrote about what I did – it just sort of happened,” Rose explains. “I spend every waking minute of my day analysing every feeling that I have, which isn’t necessarily a good thing but I think it’s led to the album having an introspective view on everyday feelings. The whole thing has been a bit of a surprise, really.
“I would presume that I should know how to talk about my emotions by now. And because of my music I give myself the impression that I do. And I can’t; I can somehow do it in a few lyrics, but if you sat down and tried to talk to me about it, I wouldn’t be able to make much sense of it.
“It's an intense thing, the album. You could put it on the list of things that you don't like at first but you grow to love. Like beer, wine and olives.”