Release Date: Jan 20, 2017
Record label: Vermilion Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Stellular, the sophomore album by former Pipettes singer and Mark Ronson-collaborator Rose Elinor Dougall, comes a full seven years after her solo debut, Without Why. Her first full-length was a musical grab-bag of pop styles from jazz-inflected and somber shoegazing post-punk to synth-pop and the stark, guitar-driven drama of "Come Away With Me." What marks any Dougall release, of course, is that voice; affective, adaptable, and always shooting straight at the heart. .
Stellular’ - adjective, 1. Abounding in small stars. 2. Resembling a small star. The title of Rose Elinor Dougall’s second album is, like much of the record, perfectly selected. Stellular is exactly that: its own tiny galaxy of shining, star-bright jewels, each in its own way, quite, quite ….
Rose Elinor Dougall's second record under her own name should help erase all the modifiers added to her name. 2017's Stellular is impressive enough that she no longer need be referred to as a former Pipette. It's a brilliant enough album that she doesn't need her association with Mark Ronson be the first thing people talk about, either. Her first album under her own name, 2010's Without Why?, was good, sometimes even great, but this one positions her as a force to be reckoned with on the modern pop scene.
Rose Elinor Dougall makes pop music, but not as we know it in 2017. Her full-band aesthetic and commitment to sophisticated songwriting might unfortunately keep her out of the chart chase, but it’s their loss. Her first album in seven years is a timely reminder that you can make broad, accessible songs without sacrificing or disguising your intelligence.Dougall took a strange, winding path to arrive here.
Naming an album Stellular welcomes inevitable discussion regarding the relative starriness of the performer and their work. With Rose Elinor Dougall, there is a sense that she is a star, but that her time to shine fully has still to arrive; that her light has often been hidden under a bushel or – as she admitted recently – her fringe. She began as one third of The Pipettes, where polka dots and synchronised dance routines detracted from their sharp hooks and minds (witness how leader Gwenno has flourished since leaving the group).
“Everything tonight, everything tomorrow, everything at once,” whispers Rose Elinor Dougall on All at Once, a shadowy sister to Blondie’s Rapture. Hedonism, and the recklessness of being a twentysomething struggling in London, shape the second solo album from the former Pipette. The moody propulsion of the city’s krautrock scene – the Horrors, Toy (frontman Tom is her brother) – offer relief from the oppressive, gothic mood: here is a place filled with “devils and the demons” and “corpses lying side by side”.