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Back in late 2013, West Country-raised Rosie Lowe impressed us with her stunning debut EP, Right Thing. Infusing glistening waves of soulful R&B, lingering beats, and sultry vocals – there was plenty to love in Lowe’s debut and it’s easy to understand why. Channeling the best parts of 90’s R&B and contemporary synth soul like artists such as The Weeknd and James Blake into the fabric of her emotionally charged lyrics, we can see why Lowe is put at the forefront of upcoming artists operating in the realms of lo-fi PBRnB.
Wielding powerful narratives about womanhood, identity and finding strength, Rosie Lowe transcends her contemporaries with her debut album Control.
While peers such as FKA Twigs and the xx have scaled heights with critically acclaimed albums, Lowe has been diligently working in the shadows, only releasing a few tracks over the past couple of years. But now it seems that the understated artist is ready to take on the world with her latest release, Control. Tackling 21st century femininity, friendship, and the complexities of love, this emotionally revealing material brings intimacy and vulnerability to the atmospheric production of Control.
The stage is set with Run, Run, Run, a smooth-as-silk response to a partner trying to pass off their issues as her’s. Sassy, confident, and undeterred, Lowe lets us know that every choice she makes is based on her own intellect and intuition. Who’s That Girl, an early single of Lowe’s cleverly addresses the concept of identity over hypnotising backing vocals and slow building melodies.
Such moments shine light to the other star of Control, co-producer Dave Okumu of The Invisibles. His gentle and tweaked sonic touches elevate these songs from your minimal bedroom beat fare to something more captivating.
Recent single Woman will no doubt prove to be one of the most intelligent pop songs of the year, its matter-of-fact statements such as “Why should my intellect be judged by perceptions of what I should be?” delivers more punch than any online think pieces.
All of this is delivered without dramatic orchestral sweeps and overdone singing; its subtle touch proves more unsettling than any extravagance. Lowe bares her soul in songs like So Human, inspired by Lowe’s experience with therapy, highlighting the personal depths this artist is willing to go for her art. A commendable quality for any esteemed singer-songwriter.
Closing track For You ends things on a dreamy note, Lowe’s voice drifting off to the abyss accompanied by reverb drenched squeals and a sense of respecting oneself. A near flawless record, this LP sounds both contemporary yet grounded by timeless themes we all can’t but want to relate to.
While refraining from a dramatic production, Lowe shows no restrain when it comes to her narratives. Filling the quietest moments with her brutally honest words – some hit home like a dagger piercing straight through the heart. In saying that though, the record doesn’t wallow in self-pity or introspection; Lowe boldly exhibits her pride as a creative and as a woman.
Keep your eyes wide open, as 2016 should prove to be a stellar year for Rosie Lowe.
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