Rose Elinor Dougall

A New Illusion

Vermillion

Apr 11, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Rose Elinor Dougall knows the trick to defying the laws of time and space. Nearly a decade ago, the former Pipette struck out to cultivate the enchanted garden of Without Why, where her Parisian grandeur and Krautrock cool belied the world-weary wisdom underneath. Then, despite a protracted hiatus, Dougall returned to blow caution to the stars on her New Wave second wind, 2017's Stellular. Now, though barely two years have past, A New Illusion sweeps us back much further in the wink of an eye. Yet, while paisley psychedelia and wheat-gold pastures might send listeners off daydreaming to yesteryear, the seasoned traveler behind the wheel still drives onward, away from any limits that a troubled history may have imposed.

Granted, don't expect any full-throttle blast to the past. Dougall embarks on the slowest cruise  of her career with A New Illusionballads like "Wordlessly" and "Something Real" build quietly, as nagging suspicions often do when someone stays too long in one place. The title track spells out this particular ennui, with a grand coziness that matches Todd Rundgren with Feist: "Save me from the shrinking of your horizons/See things as they really are." Yes, you could call A New Illusion a breakup albumbut, like Laura Marling in last year's LUMP, Dougall has removed herself from the earthly mess of it all, reigning instead as mystic and prophet of her own fate. The heaviest trip on the album, "Take What You Can Get," shows us the full force of her otherworldly command: "Baby, it's too late/We're on our way/This feeble feeling won't go away."

So what's the new illusion? That's up to the listener, but Dougall has full command over the illusions of old. Though "Simple Things" ends the album on a whisper, "Christina in Red" gestures to the velvet curtain with a sax-laced elegance that doesn't happen often these days. No doubt, whatever present clouds may threaten to darken Dougall's door, our able time traveller can always make a clean getawayand we the willing passengers can always expect a pleasant journey, even when the future seems uncertain. (www.facebook.com/roseelinordougall/)

Author rating: 8/10

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Johno
April 19th 2019
6:40am

Boring. Changes her image like the wind!