With a languid vocal bathed in isolation, an uneasy, inevitable shoulder shuffle of angular bass, synths and guitar, Rose Elinor Dougall’s new album Stellular is a defiant soundtrack for a generation facing down global recession, political division and personal insecurity.
Stellular is an album rooted in the London lives that shaped its lyrics, the lives and experiences of Rose’s friends as their 20s slipped by in a haze of late nights, broken hearts and struggles in an increasingly unforgiving capital.
Crafting small ideas, a simple rhythm, drum noises, or a sound on a Korg Delta, the plan was to make the record from a limited sonic palette, to give everything a defined aesthetic. This philosophy stretches back to Rose’s days in The Pipettes – a band built on a manifesto for the perfect pop group by the KLF’s Bill Drummond.
There are obvious nods to Debbie Harry, The Smiths, “the women I love.. like Karen Dalton or Joni Mitchell or PJ Harvey or Roisin Murphy or Beth Gibbons” and Fleetwood Mac, particularly on the duet boy-girl duet Dive with Boxed In.
This album is the culmination of the strange and hectic decade since the 19-year-old Rose jacked in college to go on tour with The Pipettes, made the bold move to go it alone with the introspective solo debut Without Why, then signed up to front Mark Ronson’s touring band on a never-ending world tour.