Album Review: Elizabeth Rose - Intra

25 February 2016 | 4:19 pm | Roshan Clerke

"Intra struggles to balance the thin line between style and substance."

Sydney singer Elizabeth Rose has been working hard to carve a name for herself in the Australian music industry recently.

Her live performances feature energetic dance moves and impressive vocal performances, and the recent singles from Intra, her debut album, have hinted at a stronger writing voice from the singer. She's an alternative fashion icon with plenty to say, so it's surprising then that Intra struggles to balance the thin line between style and substance.

In saying this, there are definite highlights throughout the record. Album opener Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda sounds poised for radio crossover, featuring crunchy hip hop drums from Gold Coast producer M-Phazes and motivational songwriting. "Every moment don't reprise the present," she sings. Later in the album, Chrome Sparks' production on Another Earth glistens with an otherworldly sheen. It's as interesting textually as it is melodically, with Rose's voice rising and falling between futuristic beats.

It's when the production gets in the way that the songs on Intra begins to falter. The production from Seekae on Close is headache-inducing in its attempt to subvert the standard pop song dynamic, with a subtle vocal performance from Rose further letting the track slip into the background. Similarly, the synthesised strings on Playing With Fire may channel that Toxic-era Britney feeling, but they really don't need the extra accompaniment from REMI, who delivers the worst verse we've heard from the rapper. There's plenty of great ideas running through the album, but for every Division and Anxiety there's something as diametrically forgettable.

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