Rose Elinor Dougall - Without Why
Rose Elinor Dougall first appeared in the public eye as one of three vocalists in the classic line-up of purveyors of polkadot retro pop outift The Pipettes. Rose exited the band in 2008, leaving to focus on a solo career. She has been keeping busy since then, releasing a quartet of singles in the two years that followed and timing the release of her debut album Without Why perfectly to coincide with her guest appearance on Mark Ronson's new album Record Collection.
All four of Rose's previous singles appear on this debut, with 'Another Version Of Pop Song" one of the two main stand out songs. This was Miss Dougall's first release away from her old band, with the track showing a completely new side to her work, the song's harpsichord intro and sweeping keyboard refrain bringing to mind a sleazy 60s club complete with psychedelic light show, a world away from the 50s pop she pulled shapes to in her previous band. The second track that pulls you instantly is 'Falling Over' as it's the one song on the collection with a huge chorus and a nice rowdy instrumental part!
After giving the album a few listens it's the familiar material that proves strongest, including 'Start/Stop/Synchro', a single from the summer of 2009, with the song's lovelorn lyrics fitting Rose's downbeat vocal delivery perfectly. This isn't necessarily a problem: Dougall devotees will surely purchase the release nonetheless and having all the singles under one roof makes it a complete collection for the curious drawn to her music via her Ronson connection. That being said, the album is strong as a whole with plenty for all and sundry to enjoy, with 'Come Away With Me' a real gem and the track that grows most, bringing to mind the ethereal quality of the Cocteau Twins at times, with 'To The Sea' falling closely behind, with Rose's plea of "Come home" tugging at the heart strings.
Pipettes fans may find fewer hooks than they'd hope for, and with the throwaway pop ditties banished to the bin to be replaced by well crafted songs with a maturity and slightly melancholic undertone, this should find place in your heart after a couple of spins.