The striking debut from Irish/Italian singstress Eileen Rose, featuring backing from Alabama 3 (The Sopranos). Edgy, poetic, and gritty, Shine Like It Does is a powerful first step for the Massachusetts-born, London-based Rose.
"Eileen Rose shows the single-minded spirit and int...more
In the opening lines on Eileen Rose’s debut album Shine Like It Does she sings: "I was sure enough to come. I was dumb enough to stay." And therein hangs a tale. Over the next 45 minutes this gifted songwriter, guitar player and singer offers up 11 happy-sad songs about her Irish-Italian American background and the life she’s lived for the last ten years in England. Through the thinly-veiled autobiography we follow Rose’s drift across the North Atlantic, from the poor north Boston suburb of Saugus (bordering on the notorious Lynn) where she grew up the youngest of six sisters and three brothers - via Salem, Massachusetts and on to, first, rural Essex and subsequently north London.
Q Magazine described Rose’s voice as "an earthy, expressive thing conveying lived-in loveliness and battered vulnerability somewhere between Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith and Michelle Shocked." On the opening track Shine Like It Does, Rose’s father accepts her career of choice as a singer providing she "never learns to sing the blues". It’s a fond quip set to a tune that sounds like an instant classic. Second up is Still In The Family and here she shifts through emotional gears like only a real singer can. The feelings of bone-tiredness and barely coping, transition into feelings of high hope by the time the chorus rolls around, thanks to Rose’s gorgeous phrasing. Lines like "Why are you crying? You said you wanted to know!" offer tender glimpses of domestic situations without ever laying things prosaically bare. These poetic portraits of blue collar America set the tone for much of what is to follow. That is, until you reach Silver Ladle, the album’s hymnal centerpiece, which does the strong, vulnerable thing to a "T", and ends up seeming like nothing short of a gilded dream of a better place, or a tiny, very significant light slowly disappearing over the horizon. And so it goes.
Eileen Rose’s heroes: Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Creedence, Paul Simon (another wandering American who found creative inspiration in England; famously writing ’Homeward Bound’ on Widnes station), Neil Diamond (Eileen’s song ’Lincoln Park’ refers to his ’Sweet Caroline’), Kate Bush, Janis Joplin and Fleetwood Mac, all provide clues but no real hard evidence of where all this comes from. For that you have to go back to "Lynn, Lynn, city of sin, you never come out the way you went in". Lynn’s the kind of place where Rose’s immediate ancestor, John L. Sullivan: "The Boston Strong Boy", could get by on his bar-room catchphrase "I’ll lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house", while cradling the biggest fists of any heavyweight boxing champion ever. It was there and elsewhere around Boston that Rose first came to prominence, fronting Daisy Chain, Medici Slot Machine and Fledgling, who were signed to Nine Inch Nails launchpad TVT Records.
Shine Like It Does was recorded in Monnow Valley studios in South Wales with Jerry Boys, who began his career as second engineer for the Beatles and Stones and most recently recorded Buena Vista Social Club with Ry Cooder. The album was mixed by Mark Freegard (Breeders, Madder Rose, Marilyn Manson). Eileen Rose’s group is comprised of three current members of Alabama 3 (A3 from HBO’s ’The Soprano’s) - keyboard player Orlando Harrison, drummer Sir Eddie Real and guitarist Mark Sams - plus Fledgling survivor Davey Bull on guitar, and Barry Payne (once of Wreckless Eric’s band) on bass.
Rose’s voice is the key tool in her music, cutting through the sweet fog of sound, wavering between waifish, vulnerable innocence and a bruised but unbroken experience. Eileen Rose is tattooed, fearless in song, sheer, sensual and true.