Rosie Brown


Mojo * * * *

“As fresh and enveloping as morning mist – and as disquietingly opaque – the music of Rosie Brown weaves a wondrous spell. It’s centred on the silken murmur of siren songstress Rosie who coos sensual pieces about weather, colours and intimacy. She sings of breathing in the southern breeze, of wanting to float on an ocean with you (“you, you, you, you”), of the orange sunset burning a hole in her head, and the effect is bewitching. She is partnered by producer and co-writer Bernd Rest, whose neat guitar parts (along with Simon Russell’s double bass, and the general air of trippiness) recall vintage John Martyn. But the post-Norah subtlety (acoustic group at its core), post-Portishead portent (neurotic bluesy dissonance) and post-Zero 7 lounge-chill results in uniquely affecting sounds which unsettle as they seduce.”

Mojo * * * *

“Centred around the considerable talents of Brown and Austrian guitarist/producer Bernd Rest, this sparkling record will hearten those who thought that the kind of pastoral arranging skills with which Robert Kirby furnished Nick Drake were history. The flutes on Odessa, bass clarinet on Darn Sing Spin and soprano sax on album stand-out Catch evince superior musical brains following their hearts, while Rest’s acoustic guitar motifs ooze melody throughout. Brown – flowers in her hair à la Billie Holiday, voice like a more sensual Beth Orton – writes distinctive, poetic lyrics, and on Love It Hate It and Song For Dolly there’s a maturity to her phrasing which suggests she’s been a secret too long. In a climate where every week sees major labels foist new singer-songwriters of questionable quality, this is the real McCoy.”

Q * * * *

“Tardy as Brown’s follow-up to her 2002 debut By the Blue is, it’s been worth the wait. Elemental, sensual, laced with choice saxophone, vibraphone, double bass and oboe, Clocks and Clouds is often reminiscent of John Martyn circa Bless the Weather, but on the skewed One Horse Tango, Austrian guitarist and arranger Bernd Rest conjures something more evocative of Les Paul backed by Goldfrapp. Enjoy by candlelight with a good red, or something green and combustible.”

Straight No Chaser

“The South London chanteuse returns with a brand new album, a familiar line-up and a collection of fine songs that surpass even the debut By the Blue. Rosie’s vocals conjure up hints of Joni Mitchell in her heyday and have never sounded better than now. There are, of course, plenty of delicate, folky jazz numbers, like the melancholic Clouds and the atmospheric Late Light. In other places, though, Rosie and her band of accomplished jazz musicians push boundaries once more, especially on the brilliant, acoustic drum and bass tinged Burning Orange and the evocative skit One Horse Tango. Elsewhere, Sunray is a carefree, optimistic joint, whereas Move My Head is a more challenging, confrontational piece with abrasive guitars and some deft drumming – about as aggressive as Miss Brown gets! Thankfully. Check this lady out. She should, by rights, be massive.”