Release Date: Jul 21, 2009
Record label: Beggars XL
Genre(s): Rock, Folk
The self-titled debut from 21-year-old British songwriter Laura Groves, under the name Blue Roses, thrives on the romance of youth and the unknown. On opener "Greatest Thoughts", for instance, Groves suffers her adoration for the lover who won't meet her in the middle and, even worse, will never actually understand her. But she's willing to forfeit just a bit of her young life to give him a chance: "You pulled me closer to your chest/ You were the one that I liked best," she rhymes simply, her bracing voice whispering above a romantic piano line that recalls Claude Debussy.
The debut from English singer/songwriter Laura Groves (aka Blue Roses) draws more than a little from 1960s folk traditions, both British (Anne Briggs) and from across the pond (Joni Mitchell). Groves' earnest yet elusive wordplay, serpentine melodies, and minimal arrangements lithely follow the trail blazed by the current crop of postmillennial retro fairy tale crooners like Joanna Newsom, Tiny Vipers, and Laura Barrett, but her willingness to explore the more commercial side of the experimental/alternative folk movement may shield her from the "freak folk" tag so liberally applied to many of her contemporaries. Proficient on both guitar and piano, Groves is most effective when behind the latter, crafting luminous, pastoral ballads like "Greatest Thoughts," "I Wish I.
There are times during this first album from Laura Groves, a young Yorkshirewoman, when one yearns to tell her she'll be happier with a different boyfriend, even if she finds herself without subject matter. The 10 songs here tend towards the emotionally overwrought - "Well does anyone love me?/ 'Cause I asked the deep sea/ But it wouldn't speak to me/ My darling I'm sorry," from Does Anyone Love Me Now? pretty well nails the lyrical content of the whole album - but also serve notice of a precocious talent. Groves has a startling voice, as high and true as a piccolo, and an ear for an interesting arrangement, given the songs' basic reliance on her voice and either piano or acoustic guitar.
Blue Roses is the performing name taken by Yorkshire, England singer-songwriter Laura Groves. Though, at 21, she’s hardly a child, the ten simply-played, ornately-arranged folk songs on her self-titled debut album sound precocious nonetheless. And, like a precocious child, Blue Roses is alternately impressive, surprising, aloof, and exhausting. Groves is clearly talented, yet not quite to the point as a songwriter or musician where she can completely harness her talent on a consistent basis.