Josh Rouse - The Embers Of Time
Josh Rouse left his home in Nashville to move to Valencia, Spain almost ten years ago. Since his relocation his musical output has skipped between alt-country to Latin to folk, with occasion detours into Spanish language material. His latest album has more in common with his pre-Spanish material like Home and Under Cold Blue Stars, with little evidence of flamenco guitar or castanets. This is what one would call a 'mood piece' and the mood is 1am with a brandy. The wit, charm and musical textures are easily missed without the right state of mind.
The Embers Of Time has a much in common with the more melancholic Neil Young and JJ Cale albums and is possibly one of Rouse's most reflective works, singing about dead stepfathers and musing about his own mortality, perhaps a result of his own recent psychoanalysis sessions (the singer has spoken about a new ease in looking within for inspiration). Tracks like 'You Walked Through The Door' and 'Time' showcase Rouse's keen eye for a vocal melody and his familiar, but unique, voice. Yet while these melodies flourish - meaning that no song is uninteresting - there is a certain lack of punch that he's not had now for nearly a decade. The lack of some of the rockier, joyful material that shone over his best works is a miss, with only closer 'Crystal Fall' coming close. Beautifully crafted then, but short of a few strong choruses or touches of magic that would re-capture the glory days.