Album Review: Lucy Rose - 'Something's Changing' (Communion)
'A stripped back and heartfelt declaration of optimism'
It took Lucy Rose only seventeen days to record her third and arguably most inspired album, after spending months backpacking around South America playing free shows to audiences that previously she never fully recognised. After periods of self-doubt and enduring the uncertainty of finding a new label to release her music, Rose has returned to deliver a tender and heartfelt effort right off the back upon her unprecedented surge of popularity.
The tearful quote recorded on her South American tour, "the simple things in life are the most important, having good people around you... you don't need all the things that you think you need in your life to make you happy", deliciously echoes throughout 'Something's Changing'. It is clear that this is not intended as a career relaunch, nor an attempt to reach out to a commercial fan base. It is a defiant embracement of everything her loyal fans grew to love in the face of the entertainment industry's hidden hand, whilst offering a return to the raw and stripped back flavours of her debut album with a more intimate tone.
The minimal orchestration of the 'Intro', reduced to just a nylon string acoustic and Roses tender use of vibrato, could be perceived as a light hearted attempt to tease the listener to expect a bossa-nova, though familiarity is resumed in 'Is This Called Home' which triumphs in its post-romantic string arrangement that would not sound out of place in a golden-age Disney production. As the album progresses, the increased emphasis on close up vocal deliveries become more prevalent, especially in 'Floral Dresses' with soulful backing vocals from The Staves which offers the most tender contribution.
'Second Chance' in particular showcases Lucy Rose's artistic inspiration at the most personal level, through emphasising the feeling of being left behind and let down, hence 'in my time of need when everyone is moving but me' and wrapping up the chorus with 'but this could be my second chance.' Some progressive rock fragments can also be heard in 'Soak It Up' which is marginally comparable to 'Breathe Speak To Me' in the verse, with "get up, don't give up" showcasing Rose's fresh optimism and defiance to allow the ill-state of music today which once burdened her with such doubt. The concluding track 'I Can't Change It All', reignites this sense of abandonment and offers the listener reminiscence upon a past experience with a friend or lover, but this could be also be interpreted metaphorically to describe the pain endured in the process of moving forward, which would appear to be the albums most salient theme throughout.
As demonstrated in an interview with BBC's Newsbeatearlier in the month, Lucy Rose's adulation for music is admirably virtuous, which is perhaps why she found herself mourning so heavily in the face of its decline. In an unforgiving digital age, as consumers choose to stream rather than purchase music, authentic singer/ songwriters are more often than not being left in an existential crisis as to what matters to them as musicians. 'Something's Changing' as inspired by the South American adventure that left her so taken aback, it is a declaration that what matters to her and her devoted audience is to write and perform music that truly speaks for her.