9 years in the past, Caitlin Rose launched her second album, The Stand-In. The title spliced a pair inside jokes from the primary report’s tour: The months onstage had her feeling like an impostor; when she felt like herself, she longed for an understudy. However within the album’s wake, a great variety of interviewers and critics turned her right into a stand-in for nation music: If she wasn’t an alternative choice to Taylor Swift, possibly she was the heir of Loretta Lynn or Emmylou Harris. You may see the place they have been coming from. Rose is a Texas-born Nashvillian—with all of the twang that combo implies—and her mother and father (a label government and a songwriter who’s gained Grammys for writing with, effectively, Taylor Swift) are Music Row stalwarts. From the outset, she was a pure at depicting the gnarled emotional entanglements of traditional honky-tonk—the misspent need, the loneliness on the coronary heart of the occasion—however her interiority was extra suited to plaintive indie pop. Monologues, not playlets.
CAZIMI, Rose’s long-delayed third report, makes an entire music cycle out of these entanglements, with every minimize reflecting the right quantity of neon. Decide a monitor: somebody’s both breaking up or barely holding it collectively. If anybody truly will get by the door, they pull the home down behind them. It might make for a heavy pay attention if Rose handled these conditions weightily, however that’s by no means actually been her method. “Star-crossed and ridin’ on heaven’s horses/I’ve had sufficient of those cosmic divorces,” she shrugs on “Trendy Dancing,” a blithe and, from the sound of it, severely capoed strutter that performs like “Soak Up the Solar” for nihilists. (Or, I assume, just like the Magnetic Fields.) On “Holdin’”—Rose’s second or third contribution to the lamentably small canon of nation energy pop—her narrator alternates grandiose threats with seething retreats, then will get chased by a beautiful jangly counterpoint. “No person’s Sweetheart” is a chiming concern troll with a crushing descending determine that recollects ’70s AM gold; fragments of its refrain carry into “Lil’ Vesta” (which crosses the sure-stepping pop of Adam Schlesinger with the romantic fatalism of, sincere to God, early Toby Keith) and “Innocent” (the actual weeper right here, with a refrain that carries as a lot resigned religion as an evangelical worship ballad).
There’s a convergence between how Rose (who co-produced the album with Jordan Lehning) tinkers with style and the best way she turns her characters’ conditions over like a snowglobe. It’s fascinating to match CAZIMI together with her 2010 debut, Personal Facet Now, which she reissued in September. Excluding the Northern-soul-inflected “Shanghai Cigarettes”—when Rose appeared on Rhett Miller’s podcast final month, he named it considered one of his all-time high 5—Personal Facet Now hewed carefully to folk-pop conference. The observations have been sharp, however they have been snugly sheathed within the preparations. Any stylistic deviations tended towards the self-consciously retro: barrelhouse shuffle, pop-soul balladry, po-faced people ramble.
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