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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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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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