Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Rosie Lowe returns better than ever with YU


Release date: 10 May 2019
Rosie lowe 2019
27 May 2019, 14:36 Written by Rory Foster
​​2016 was an interesting year. Brexit. Trump. Leicester City. But forget all that. Two albums came out in 2016 that are relevant to this conversation.

The first was Rosie Lowe’s debut album. Control came out in February. A gem of brooding pop, from the moonlit fuzz of title track “Control” to the upbeat soul of “I’ll be gone”. At the controls was Dave Okumu.

The second was The Invisible’s Patience, in June. Their third ecord, and following a four year gap, it was a giant step forward in craft. It featured Rosie Lowe on “Different”, a near-irresistible shimmying pop gem, with a particularly excellent cowbell.

Both these records were quietly brilliant. And with Rosie Lowe’s second album, they find their middle ground. Not quite the best of both, but still a cracking good time.

YU is, for Lowe, just a bit more sharp, a bit groovier, a bit more textured, than Control. The tracks have an added ping that Okumu’s Patience had. And in general, I think that’s for the better. The swagger and snap of “Birdsong”. The closing shuffle of “Apologise”. “Pharaoh” has something of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah about it; the slow tempo, an electric guitar twiddling about in the background, the drunken drums. “Body // Blood” is 1:03 but begs to be longer.

I could go on, because YU is also never boring. Skip to any point at any track and there is something rumbling in the background - be it a scatter of hand claps. An extra layer of guitar. A rogue vocal sample. It oozes craft.

And that’s partly because it’s full of artists that are masters of craft. Not just Okumu - there are more players and more voices on this record, from Sam Shephard (Floating Points), Alfa Mist, Jay Electronica to a choir of Jamie Woon, Jamie Lidell, Jordan Rakei & Kwabs on “Birdsong”, which is just showing off.

The only thing that’s lacking on YU is a few more big hooks. “Birdsong” has it. “UEMM” does. “Little Bird” just about does. Some of the other tracks, though beautiful, can sometimes blur into one another, get a bit sluggish (I’m looking at you, “ITILY”).

Though taken as a whole, YU is a wonderful record. Okumu and Lowe are a dream partnership, and along with the rest of London’s modern soul players present on YU and hiding amongst other projects, have way more to give us over the next few years.

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