Lucy Rose has moved on since the release of her folk fuelled debut album Like I Used To. While her vocals continue to have a distinctly delicate sound anyone who describes new album, Work It Out, in the same way isn’t giving the 26 year old singer-songwriter the credit she’s due. This is an album that shows that Rose has direction…and attitude.
Rose started her journey singing backing vocals with Bombay Bicycle Club before unveiling her own sound on her debut album in 2012. Despite that making an appearance in the top 20, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that this is the record where she actually finds her voice. The record label suggested she co-wrote some of the new songs, but it wasn’t her style. These songs are all about her – in a good way! Rose herself has said that “it’s hopefully going to sort a few things out. Who I am. What I do. It’s direct. I love it. I’m not asking anyone to ‘get me’, but I want people to give it a proper listen.”
When you do listen, you realise that Work It Out has big beats, plenty of synths and punchier lyrics whilst still showcasing her storytelling abilities and those fragile vocals. The album opens with For You, which begins with that soft acoustic sound you hear so much about in connection with Rose but teases with a pounding heartbeat of a chorus until it builds and reaches its final crescendo. It’s still close to what her fans will know her for, but a shift can be heard. The danceable Our Eyes is a change of pace and has that shimmering sound that made it an ideal choice for a summer single and has no doubt become a festival favourite. Like An Arrow has a swinging country feel and a ridiculously catchy chorus. Three tracks into the album and the “pace and vitality” she was going for is blossoming.
Nebraska is all piano and soaring strings as Rose appropriately, considering her new direction, repeats throughout “I’m alive” as her voice carries the song higher. Köln is beats laden and has an unusual, almost African-sounding, groove that sucks you in. There are haunting and dreamy elements to both Shelter and My Life, with the latter featuring backing vocals from Rose’s sister-in-law, Rae Morris. Forthcoming single Till The End (to be released on 9 October) is an upbeat track with beautifully layered vocals and lyrics that are full of longing – “I should have believed that you were much more than just a friend”.
Rose most successfully displays her growing dynamism on Fly High (Interlude), Cover Up and Work It Out – all tracks that flirt with an electro-pop sound and create an atmosphere that feels heavily influenced by artists like Massive Attack.
With this album, Rose’s new found confidence in her song writing process is obvious but what really shines through is her character. Her love of hip-hop and other music genres has seeped into her work. Her lyrics are honest. Her vision is clear. She is still holding onto the folk elements her fans love, while steering them through previously uncharted electrified territory.
This album is about the journey of Lucy Rose. I wouldn’t say she’s arrived yet but she’s on the right track and it’s time that the people who’ve labelled her as too nice and her music as simply pleasant, worked that out.
Work It Out is out now via Sony Music.