Rose Elinor Dougal - Jimmy's, Manchester - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Rose Elinor Dougal - Jimmy's, Manchester

by Steve Rhodes Rating: Release Date:

A couple of doors down from the seminal but now defunct Roadhouse and sharing its bleak décor and odour as if pumped through as nostalgia is Jimmy's, host venue of tonight's performance by ex-Pipette Rose Elinor Dougal, promoting her excellent second album Stellular.

Up first in the downstairs corner of the compact but busy venue is Manchester's Charlotte Cannon. With just a piano for company Charlotte sings about quirky subject matters, such as Albino organ harvesting in Africa, at a rate of nots. Like a sixth form college Diamanda Galas, there is a lot of faux croaky warbling to accompany the minor key, theatrical numbers, reminiscent of Kate Nash guesting in The Irrepressibles and then being kidnapped by Nina Hagen, that though seem quite unique at times becomes repetitive and a bit tiresome too quickly.

In the near decade since Rose Elinor Dougal left The Pipettes, releases have been almost at a Blue Nile pace with a few EPs and a rather underwhelming album that came out in 2010. With former Pipette colleague Gwenno Saunders releasing an accomplished and critically acclaimed album in the last few years, Rose has upped her game with an excellent record, pretty much played in it's entirety tonight.

With a full band for company, including Younghusband's bassist Joe Chilton, the band commence proceedings with album opener 'Colour of Water', with floating keys, chiming guitars, rolling bass, pattered drums and an excellent backing vocal, providing the support for Rose's confident presence and vocal prowess. A broken string and then a busted guitar pedal doesn't spell disaster with the guitarist just enduring polite mocking from the band as a response, as the songs are delivered thick and fast and with aplomb.

The new album sounds fantastic in the live setting with 'Strange Warnings', 'Dive' and 'Closer' early highlights of the set, hinting at early Goldfrapp, Stereolab or Roberta Flack fronting Marine Research. 'All At Once' is sassy and almost nu-jazz, while 'Hell and Black' takes a further about-turn with a dystopian middle eight, that feels like a meltdown, but is bloody great. In contrast 'Find Me Out', the only song that appears from Rose's back catalogue, feels weak and thin in comparison to the bolshier, newer numbers.

'Space To Be' is the absolute highlight, spectral and spacious, with a glorious echoed guitar and a beautiful, hypnotic, ascending chorus, leading to a Stereolab close that feels like it's constantly teetering on the edge but remains simultaneously in full control.

Closing the set with title track 'Stellular', with it's 80s sporting montage feel, Rose has delivered a set that more than matches the quality of her new album. It's great to see how Rose has taken her time to reassess after a disappointing beginning to her solo career, coming so soon after achieving success in The Pipettes, producing such a great record that is easily transposed as confidently live. The wait was definitely worth it.

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