A confident debut record that places Rose where she should be.
Mischa Pearlman 2012
Lucy Rose used to operate on the periphery. She used to be just a voice in the background . She used to be the extra texture of other people’s songs, most notably for Bombay Bicycle Club, appearing on the indie upstarts’ last two albums. She used to be just another part of the atmosphere, existing tentatively and passively in airwaves dominated by other people.
No longer. Since the release of her first EP in August last year, Rose has gradually stepped into the spotlight as a songwriter and performer in her own right.
Like I Used To is her debut full-length – 11 songs that exhibit her syrupy and sumptuous, guarded and delicate vocals. Awash with an inherent melancholy, Rose manages to combine that sweet, soft sadness with a graceful poppy sensibility.
Take, for example, the ease with which the breezy melody of Bikes drifts through the haze of lazy summer days it evokes, or the stripped-back loveliness of Shiver as it contemplates a past, lost love. “I shiver like I used to,” she sings on its chorus, her plaintive sigh evoking shivers of its own – life imitating art, imitating life.
It’s on that track, and those that are similarly sparse – Night Bus, the lilting Place and the fragile yet defiant emotional upheaval of closer Be Alright – where Rose and her gorgeous, sultry voice flourish. These are the moments when they’re allowed to exist on their own terms, with just the emotions that inspired them.
Occasionally, though, the production detracts from that purity. The instrumentation on Lines, Watch Over and, to a lesser extent, Red Face, sometimes sounds like Enya crossed with a mid-90s Sting song. When that happens, it makes Rose sound much older than her 23 years, and her songs seem that bit less sincere and heartfelt.
Nevertheless, this is a confident debut record that places Rose where she should be, rather than hiding in the shadows like she used to.