Rose Elinor Dougall: Without Why (Scarlett Music) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, October 19th, 2020  

Rose Elinor Dougall

Without Why

Scarlett Music

Sep 10, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Let's get something out of the way at the start. Rose Elinor Dougall used to be in The Pipettes, dressing in polka-dotted outfits and singing '60s girl group-like pop songs with two similarly outfitted young ladies, bopping in choreographed splendor. Without Why sounds absolutely nothing like The Pipettes. Since leaving the band in 2008, Dougall has spent her time redefining who she wants to be as an artist and ultimately taking two years to complete this solo debut. She worked with her father, a folk guitarist; formed a band, which includes her younger brother on guitar; and has metaphorically come home, redirecting her artistic impulses to reflect more of her singular muse.

Dougall grew up surrounded by a love of English folk and such artists as Bridget St. John and Fairport Convention, and this sort of inspiration is evident in the breezy, soulful vocal-centric songs on Without Why. Comparisons have been made to Elizabeth Fraser, Duffy, and Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays), and all of these are apt, but there's something about Without Why that harks further back, to classic English songstresses like Sandy Denny and Dusty Springfield. Take, for example, the luxurious vocal inflections of "Come Away With Me" as they frame the romantic tale of love. This is classic pop songwriting at its best. Listen to the way "Find Me Out" builds in instrumental beauty, with theremin-like whine and horn crescendo. Experience how Dougall's voice, much richer and more versatile than she was ever able to show in The Pipettes, wraps around a phrase and envelops the quasi-orchestral bliss of "Another Version of Pop Song." "Watching" is a hazy, lustful, voyeuristic slow burn, accented by heavy and low background strings. The arrangements are intricate and detailed, and the feeling is soulful to its core. The irony is that, with The Pipettes, Dougall seemed to be cheekily referencing the past, but with Without Why, she has truly made something for the ages. (www.rosedougall.com)

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