Two years on from the critically acclaimed Stellular, Rose Elinor Dougall returns with her third solo album A New Illusion. With a noticeable shift in dynamic A New Illusion sees Dougall looks into the abyss – the millennial-burnout, Brexit-apocalypse, those impossible disappointments of growing up in the 21st century Britain – singing quietly with piano, with guitar, and with a gentle fuck-it attitude.
With that essential instinct, Dougall is aligning herself with the tradition of Sandy Denny, Bridget St John, Anne Briggs – English women who sang with proud fragility. It’s evocative of the English sweet-sharpness of Kirsty MacColl too – in the dreamy jangling pop lifted up by clear folk vocals and a minor-key melody.
Lead single First Sign took shape during a trip to a remote part of Andalusia. Sonically Dougall wanted to reflect the “sparseness and silence of the place in the sound of the track. I was looking for a loose, hazy feeling to the music to sit with the imagery of the song. I wanted it to sound like the end of summer.” There’s a darker rage on Take What You Can Get, with it’s plunging guitar riffs and panicky violin jags. The album skips and blurs between the public and the private realms.
That’s Where the Trouble Started started as a conversation with a girlfriend, about how and why we allow dysfunctionality to continue. It’s about accepting responsibility, and trying to wear your fragility in a proud way. Dougall takes the helm for the first time, directing the whole team and co-producing with old friend Matt Twaites.
The record features her brother Tom, also the lead singer in Toy, his bandmates Maxim Barron and Max Claps, Euan Hinshelwood and Joe Chilton of Younghusband, and other old friends from London, Brighton and Cornwall. ted to make it about musicianship.”
A New Illusion is slower and more confident than her previous albums – the themes may be urgent but the sound is more relaxed.
LP - Black Vinyl.
LP+ - Limited Transparent Blue Vinyl.