St Luke’s, Glasgow ****
The Brighton-based English singer-songwriter’s fourth album No Words Left addresses her faltering mental health in recent years, as she has pivoted from major label-signed hot tip saddled with unreasonable commercial expectation to an independent artist in search of her own voice. A voice she has promptly found with a suite of sparse, soft and sophisticatedly arranged material that pulls no punches lyrically. Fans of Laura Marling and Feist may find much to love.
Performing her new album practically in full left the set wanting for variation of tempo, volume and intensity, but certainly drove the point home as to Rose’s maturation as a songwriter. Fleshed out delicately by a five-piece band that included a congas-brushing percussionist, guitarist, bassist and a strings trio, the likes of Just A Moment and Treat Me Like A Woman sounded gorgeous. What Does It Take delved frankly into Rose’s relationship with her husband, who also happened to be the man scurrying around her feet between songs, her tour manager and tech William. “He does everything for me,” she joked, “and I reward him with tragic songs about us.”
Rose encored with a handsome solo cover of John Martyn’s Love You More, before finishing pointedly with Pt. 2, the penultimate track on No Words Left. “This time I’m looking out for me,” went one repeated phrase, a parting note of cautious optimism that felt encouraging to hear.