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JOSH ROUSE —LOVE OF THE MODERN AGE (Yep Roc)

www.yeproc.com

Here we have quite a change in direction for Americana singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, a man who, twenty years into his career felt the need to ease into music of a difference. On pushing the envelope he opens himself to a broader audience as he pursues a more commercial sound; as he utilises keyboards, sax, handclaps, reverb guitar, percussion and synthesizer. 

Arguably, the biggest change is the use of synthesizer opposed to his trusty acoustic guitar, and though not my choice Rouse meets the challenge face to face. A 1980s styled production dominates throughout as he draws on music associated with the likes of Prefab Sprout, The Style Council, The Blue Nile and others who used honed-in on electronic additions. I feel Rouse gets away with his brush with the modern age, but only just. Title-track “Love In The Modern Age” with clever use of sax, and a lively production has something for everyone. In his own words he says; ‘Coming off such a heavy record (The Embers Of Time), I wanted to try something different’.

Different is an understatement. In all honesty I believe his songs “Businessman”, the slightly sombre “Tropic Moon” and, one that sounds excellent no matter what “I’m Your Man” would all sound better with less intrusion. The latter comes complete with a hooky melody and smart lyrics that connect instantly. It reminds me of something Bap Kennedy might have done. It is undoubtedly my song of the record, but only just since in “There Was A Time” that offers a greater leaning to the usual Josh Rouse it has a genuine opponent. The record is nice enough to listen to, but the elaborate production does little for me or his lyrics for that matter. 

Maurice Hope 

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May 2018

1
John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
JJC,MB,SP,RM
2
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
CRS,JB,TK
3
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
HDB,CVL,DHO
4
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
JDO,LK,BK
5
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
MA,JBO,HB
6
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
7
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
MF
8
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
9
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
 
10
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
JV
11
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
 
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
HD
 
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
SZ,LM
14
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
KG
 
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Volunteer
Columbia Records
GF
 
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
 
17
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
GC,FC
 
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
 
 
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Gliding
Eight 30 Records
RST,RH
20
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
PJ,FS,JJ
 
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
22
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Years
Bloodshot Records
FCE
23
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Independent
HM
24
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Independent
 
25
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental

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