Review: Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In

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It seems impossible for anyone to discuss Caitlin Rose without mentioning the words Nashville or country music numerous times, which is a crying shame when you consider how she has developed far beyond the confines of such stereotypes. Gone now are the days of Save Macaulay The Band and stripped down EPs, here is a musician willing and able to lead the good fight against the watered down commercialisation of the Nashville music scene.

Rose’s follow up to the stellar Own Side Now is a record of immense maturity that sees her infuse a grander sense of design within her often tender song writing. The Stand In makes an instant impact, in a manner that few will have deemed possible, thanks to the crashing guitars that open the album on the exquisite No One To Call.

Waitin’ is quite possibly the most infectious song on The Stand-In, bringing to the fore a vibe that at times feels like it could be something from a James Bond soundtrack. There’s a sound here that is so quaint and yet so wonderfully contemporary. Whether it be the strings, the harmonies, the guitar solo or the raucous of a chorus – brilliance oozes from the speakers as the 3 minutes and 20 seconds draw to a close.

You may consider releasing an album with a couple of covers as a cop out and a chink in the armour, however it is quite telling that Rose possesses a knack of overhauling songs in a manner that make them unrecognisable from their initial sound. I Was Cruel and Dallas are both perfect examples of how covers need not be viewed as an easy way out for the X-Factor generation, with both tracks serving to stand as Caitlin Rose tracks in their own right.

Pink Champagne offers a heartfelt, sentimental perspectives on love and friendship, with the latter a plea for just one more chance. Love remains a key aspect of Rose’s lyrical content, however it remains introspective and wistful in a manner that manages to steer away from self-obsession and arrogance. These aren’t songs caught up in bitterness, these are songs of redemption.

There’s a new found maturity throughout the course of The Stand-In, which produces a fundamentally different sound to any of Rose’s previous work. Tracks like Menagerie, which is a foot stomping indie-pop tune, and Old Numbers, which incorporates the horns of a bygone age, are songs that would have stuck out like a sore thumb on the introspective Own Side Now. Caitlin Rose has found a means of embracing her roots while aligning them with a fresh, modern quality. This is a sign of things to come from a hugely exciting artist who can only ever go from strength to strength.

Domm Norris