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ROSE ELINOR DOUGALL

Two years on from the critically acclaimed Stellular, Rose Elinor Dougall returns with her third solo album A New Illusion. With a noticeable shift in dynamic A New Illusion sees Dougall looks into the abyss – the millennial-burnout, Brexit-apocalypse, those impossible disappointments of growing up in the 21st century Britain – singing quietly with piano, with guitar, and with a gentle fuck-it attitude. “I just wanted to sit at the piano and play, I wanted to return to something essential,” Dougall explains. “There’s something comforting and solid about that instinctive relationship with music, with playing and singing.”

With that essential instinct, Dougall is aligning herself with the tradition of Sandy Denny, Bridget St John, Anne Briggs – English women who sang with proud fragility. “There’s something essential and earthy about them,” says Dougall. “there’s something more bloody about the way they sing.” It’s evocative of the English sweet-sharpness of Kirsty MacColl too – in the dreamy jangling pop lifted up by clear folk vocals and a minor-key melody.

Lead single First Sign took shape during a trip to a remote part of Andalusia. “I was trying to cut loose from a situation, and this song is about vainly attempting to shake oneself free.” Sonically Dougall wanted to reflect the “sparseness and silence of the place in the sound of the track. I was looking for a loose, hazy feeling to the music to sit with the imagery of the song. I wanted it to sound like the end of summer.”

There’s a darker rage on ‘Take What You Can Get’, with it’s plunging guitar riffs and panicky violin jags. The album skips and blurs between the public and the private realms. “There’s a lot of reflecting on quite a turbulent twenties that’s not necessarily resolving itself in my thirties.”

‘That’s Where the Trouble Started’ started as a conversation with a girlfriend, about how and why we allow dysfunctionality to continue. It’s about accepting responsibility, and trying to wear your fragility in a proud way.”

Dougall takes the helm for the first time, directing the whole team and co-producing with old friend Matt Twaites. “This doesn’t have the same safety net as other things I’ve been involved in – it’s all on me. I’ve set myself new challenges, to see what happens.”

The record features her brother Tom, also the lead singer in Toy, his bandmates Maxim Barron and Max Claps, Euan Hinshelwood and Joe Chilton of Younghusband, and other old friends from London, Brighton and Cornwall. “It does feel like a really nice group effort – I didn’t want to be over-prescriptive, so some of it is quite loose. I wanted to make it about musicianship.”

A New Illusion is slower and more confident than her previous albums – the themes may be urgent but the sound is more relaxed. “I don’t feel the same angst about acknowledgement or approval. I decided to trust my instincts, to see if they connect with the world. I’ve been making music all my life, and this feels like a culmination of those experiences. I feel I’ve grown more fluent, more confident, more in charge that I have come closer to my natural sonic habitat.” 


FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Transparent blue vinyl.

Toy & Rose Elinor Dougall

The Half Remarkable Question/Ride, Ride

    We played a night with Rose about a year ago at The Betsy Trottwood in Clerkenwell. The night was a folk night called called 'Meanwhile Back In The Forest' put on by our friend Will Hodgkinson. We did some Incredible String Band covers and an Anne Briggs cover. As well as a few of our own songs. We had great time doing it and thought it'd be fun to record a few of them at our friends Euan from Young Husband's studio in Greenwich. We did them over a 2 days all in the same room with very few overdubs. Charlie played a little flute at one point. We've all grown up listening to those records so it was really nice to interprete them in our own way and sing with Rose.

    We recorded these songs over two cold days in January at Euan's studio, Static TV in Greenwich. These are songs all have us have always loved, and we performed them a couple of years ago at Will Hodgkinson's folk night at the Betsey Trotwood, so it was great to get them recorded. We did it all pretty much live to tape, which gives the whole thing the natural spontaneity of when we first played them.

    Anne Briggs is a hero of mine so it was slightly daunting to step into her shoes, so I hope this is a fitting homage to her brilliant music

    ‘The Half Remarkable Question’ is a cover version of The Incredible String Band

    ‘Ride, Ride’ is a cover version of Anne Briggs


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