Friday, April 14, 2017

Song of the Day # 1,181 Karen Elson

A record I've been enjoying all week is Double Roses, the second album from model and singer-songwriter Karen Elson, just out on James Endeacott's ultra-hip 1965 label (in the UK anyhow). It sounds a bit like a 2017 update on that whole seventies Laurel Canyon scene of singer-songwriters, and a particularly confessional one at that. Elson's recent personal tribulations have been well-documented, given her separation, divorce, public squabbles and legal wranglings with Jack White who initially helped her to realise her designs to be a musical artist with her 2010 Gothic debut The Ghost Who Walks.

Double Roses is a much more clearly thought through and interesting record than that one. It's smoothly produced and altogether slick and doesn't make any pretensions on being leftfield, radical or avant gard. It does boast though a number of contributions from contributors with reputations that proceed them,  Laura Marling, Father John Misty and The Black Keys' Pat Carney and the obvious musical comparison here seems Fleetwood Mac rather than The White Stripes.

This was clearly an album made in the sun. It's dappled! Elson lives in Nashville and recorded the record in LA. References to being adrift on the ocean abound, from the sleeve of the album itself, its promo videos,numerous lyrical references on several songs, and the general overall feel of the record itself. Perhaps she overdoes it but it's all clearly sincerely meant. There's little doubt that many of the lyrics, (if not the whole thing) are born from Elson's messy break up with White, (restraining orders, and counter-claims were made though apparently they've now reached an understanding and on friendly terms). Her words are refreshing unadorned and clear, it's a stark and loving record, (one that hints ultimately at resolution) and one I'd heartily recommend for those moments when you'd rather listen to Rumours or Tusk than Nevermind!

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