Review: Rose Elinor Dougall – Without Why

If the thought of a former member of The Pipettes doesn’t excite you, it’s forgiveable. Dougall was one of a trio of female singers on this kitschy 1950’s influenced outfit. Yet even if some of the tracks on ‘Without Why’ are a couple of years old now, this is one of the most invigorating and exciting female solo albums I’ve heard in a long while.

‘Start/Stop/Synchro’ sets the scene in dramatic fashion. The song contains technicolour 1960’s arrangements but Dougall is the dominant force; her voice equally capable of conveying melancholy and defiance. In contrast, ‘Come Away With Me’ is delicate like The Sundays whilst the shiver-inducing ‘Find Me Out’ combines the eerie folk ambience of early Goldfrapp with Dougall’s vulnerable tones.

In this company, the appearance of ‘Carry On’ is quite a shock as the song opens with grungy guitar and pounding drums but it turns out to be the album’s most overtly pop moment, closely followed by the heads-down indie of ‘Fallen Over’. Dougall has a sinister side too. Witness the hypnotic, spiralling depths of ‘Watching’ but even that is surpassed by ‘To The Sea’; where Dougall’s siren performance is matched only by the sugar rush of Lotus Eaters’ style jangle which accompanies it.

Solo debut albums tend to be quite tentative affairs, either dabbling in genres or playing it safe with homogeneous material. Aided by producer Lee Baker,  Dougall commits fully to which ever style she takes on and we are left with a satisfyingly complete  record which is simply thrilling from start to finish.

Web Sites:
Rose Elinor Dougall

Further Listening:
The Sundays, Broadcast, A Girl Called Eddy

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