Josh Rouse – Subtitulo

By on Thursday, 2nd March 2006 at 5:18 pm

Josh Rouse is back again with his seventh album, building on his previous efforts and coming up with an absolute gem. “Subtitulo” has a variety of summery sounds, reflecting upon his travels through California, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, Georgia, and Arizona.

Gently reflecting Jack Johnson, Turin Brakes and Elliot Smith, Rouse is one singer-songwriter that actually has the staying power some of the current crop don’t have (yes, I’m looking at you James Blunt), and has already proven himself with a joint album with Kurt Wagner (of Lambchop fame).

Opener “Quiet Town” is easy on the ears, melodic and gentle, with the gentle guitar sounding almost like rain against a window, enjoying the quiet nature of the town. Equally, it can be just as likely be the soundtrack to a gentle evening on the beach. Coupled with the whistling, it’s a great album opener, and typically story-telling like.

Summertime does the “one man with a guitar” thing perfectly – foot tappingly good, whilst retaining the rawness and feeling, and leads perfectly onto “It looks like love” which introduces some drums and a piano / keyboard to the guitar, and has a soaring chorus, which, whilst not quite a sing-along, is still a great tune, similar in style to much of Jack Johnson’s stuff. Fourth track is a gentle instrumental, vibrant in sounds and very filmatic, “La Costa Blanca” sounds like a spaghetti-western soundtrack.

“Jersey Clowns” sounds very similar to some of Turin Brakes’ earlier stuff from “The Optimist LP” with the gentle guitars and night-driving feel, with its intricate guitar finger-work. It’s a gentle autumn-tinted ballad with some brilliant lines “I’d tell him the truth, but I don’t want to bring him down”. Rouse’s voice sounds distinctly similar to Olly Knights’ gentle voice, soothing yet slightly girly (in a masculine way). It’s shortly followed by “Givin’ it up” which is one of the liveliest tracks on the album, and will have everyone tapping along with it, being prime single material, with the strings section complementing the drums and guitars perfectly.

Penultimate track, “The Man who…” has a rather repetitive refrain of “he’s the man who doesn’t know how” but is a brilliant duet. I’m not sure who the female is on the track, but her voice complements Rouse’s perfectly: gentle, yet clear.

Overall a very good album – interesting and colourful, however nothing particularly to set it apart from the crowd – there’s no “Sitting, waiting, wishing” here, just a pleasant collection of tracks that allow you to sit back and relax.

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