Review Summary: Straightforward indie-pop, or is this something more?
On her first EP and second overall release as a solo artist, former vocalist of The Pipettes Rose Elinor Dougall gives us a glimpse of what to expect from her psychedelic approach to indie-pop. At only three tracks, The Distractions EP
may serve as just that - a prelude of sorts to hold us over until her yet-to-be-announced forthcoming sophomore LP. However, you shouldn’t let the title deceive you. This extended play still has enough captivating moments to warrant attention from fans of Dougall as well the casual alternative music listener, making a splash with its rich atmosphere and powerful vocal performance.
starts off at its heaviest with ‘The Night’, a track that executes a careful balance between Dougall’s slower mesmerizing verses and distorted electric guitar riffs. The drumming contributes to its flow with excellent transitions and tempo changes, while the final minute showcases a dynamically ambient hard rock/metal instrumental solo that sets the bar high for the remainder of the EP. Even though neither ‘I’ve Always Known’ nor ‘Hanging Around’ are able to live up to that expectation, they still add a dimension of accessibility for a more informal listening experience. ‘I’ve Always Known’ is easily the catchiest song on this record, with its love lost theme in the chorus, “just go, go, go back into her arms.” The guitars are decidedly less involved, resulting in more of a crisp, listenable air that is almost a complete contradiction of ‘The Night.’ ‘Hanging Around’ is the closest Dougall comes to finding a middle ground between the two styles, although it also ends up being the most forgettable following the experimental vibe of ‘The Night’ and the infectious nature of ‘I’ve Always Known.’ Despite this, Dougall is able to deliver a vocal performance that resonates well beyond the record’s conclusion, making it a simple but effective closer for an album that has its feet in multiple camps as far as genres are concerned.
As a whole, The Distractions EP
may end up being nothing but a tease, showing a spark of something truly special with ‘The Night’ and then snuffing out that flame with the other tracks’ straightforward approach. If Rose Elinor Dougall hones in on the creative aspect of her sound, she may pleasantly surprise in the future. If she treads the road of pop music, she may find herself enjoying a lucrative but ultimately undistinguishable career. Whatever the case ends up being though, the talent is clearly there - and that is enough to make Dougall an artist worth keeping an eye on as we eagerly push forward into 2012.