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[Off The Record]
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Eileen Rose

People can sure change after leaving town for a few years. Eileen Rose is the former lead singer of Fledgling, a local band who wound up more famous for the long legal battle they waged (and lost) with TVT than for the one promising album they released. Having settled permanently in London, Rose is now back with a new band (mainly members of Alabama 3), a stack of UK raves, and a country/folk-rock direction. Why she’s named her album after an old INXS song is anybody’s guess, but this is a big step away from the spirited but familiar alterna-rock sound of Fledgling. Although the songs are melodic, thoughtful, and semi-autobiographical, they still rock too hard to prompt any Ani DiFranco or Sheryl Crow comparisons.

As a singer Rose was never prone to understatement: her voice is still big and brassy, and you can still feel the simmering emotion whenever she quiets down. The real surprise here is the versatility she’s showing as a songwriter. The opening " Rose " has the kind of lilting guitar sound and grown-up reflection beloved of AC radio programmers. But she doesn’t stay in that groove for long. " Lincoln Park " is a pop song about the healing power of pop songs — specifically Neil Diamond’s " Sweet Caroline. " " Booze Talkin’  " is nasty rockabilly that gives a cheatin’ lover hell. The standout, " Silver Ladle, " is too long and slow for radio, but its haunting melody and poetic lyrics bring the late Sandy Denny to mind. Like all good solo debuts, this sounds like an outburst that Rose has been building up to all her life.

(Eileen Rose opens for Ron Sexsmith this Sunday, June 10, at Lilli’s. Call 617-591-1661.)


Issue Date: June 7 - 14, 2001

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