Elizabeth Rose
Intra


4.0
excellent

Review

by 00mee USER (21 Reviews)
July 1st, 2016 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The ubiquitous Rose prevails in her modern electronic revival of 90’s synth-pop.

Considering the accessibility of technology and the internet, it’s no surprise that Elizabeth Maniscalco’s (stage name Elizabeth Rose) career archetypes the evolution of modern songwriting – learning to produce in her bedroom as a teenager, she’s now the principle songwriter, performer and producer of her own music. While it seems like Elizabeth Rose has simply shifted out of the periphery and collectively into dance audiences’ gaze, Maniscalco’s story is a calculated and analytical one: she’s been releasing music since 2011, while notably landing decent guest spots and studio-appearances. In focus though, Maniscalco’s ambition is curious for two reasons: as a female producer, she’s notably broken the producer-mold in a normally male-dominated environment; and two, her music sonically gives lineage to the synth-driven pop aesthetics of the 90’s.

Inherently, Rose is both the propagator and object of her cunningly orchestrated divadom conceit. Contextually, critics have noted that women occupy a scarily low five percent of producer and engineering roles in the industry; as a producer, Rose could be said to upend the trend in this regard. While it is invariable to assume Rose has had some assistance from other industry figures (Intra having been mixed and mastered by Jimmy Douglas and John Davis, respectively), most of her decorations appear to be on the back of self-driven determination and a pursuit to work on the decks. “I’ve been working all alone, to get off the ground,” she remarks in “Same Old Song,” an astringent reply to those who didn’t offer her the time or day. In comparison to the conventional, label-propped singer-songwriter, Rose appears to have pushed herself to learn more than just how to write songs. She saddles up alongside Harley Streten (Flume) and Michael De Francesco (Touch Sensitive) as a tutor at Sydney based Ableton Liveschool, a course that gives students the ability to learn how produce using the program.

As for the record itself, Intra is a playful expose of nostalgia; Rose is undoubtedly inspired by the synth-keyboard wielding bands of the 90s. Ace of Base, La Bouche, Alice Deejay, Culture Beat, Corona, and Real McCoy all seem touchstones for the sort of sound Rose is recalling, only with glossier and more-lustrous engineering that’s typical of this decade’s electronica. Within Intra, throbbing synths partner scattered percussion in an all too often playful mirage of pop-euphoria. If it isn’t already, “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” should be riding atop the crest of a top-40 wave; elsewhere, “Division” is a poignant example of how an artist can mix political statements among square pop-borne aesthetics. “Same Old Song”’s concluding key changes brings to mind Beyonce’s “Love On Top,” while its opening lyric showcases Rose’s markedly improved vocal ability. “Kensho” is well placed piano-led interlude, while “Anxiety”’s lyrical deliberations seem fitting for listeners looking for solace. The songs cover a lot of ground within the album’s pop paradigm, both vocally and texturally.

While everything on Intra is fairly well executed and effective, nothing really surpasses the sugary hook-laden song “Sensibility” from her previous EP (which is still undoubtedly her best song), and Intra’s last two tracks seem to squash the rest of the tracks’ enjoyably elastic pace. Nonetheless, Intra is an esteemed entry into the Australian pop-canon; if anything, it will hopefully inspire this generations’ women to be less daunted about picking up MIDI keyboards and DAWs and attempt to give this side of the industry a much needed gender re-balance.



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user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
00mee
July 1st 2016


253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

While I realise sputnik is somewhat averse to becoming more like Pitchfork, I would LOVE it if you could link URLS within a review. Would be pretty handy feature IMO. I kinda wanted to back my claim of the five percent female producers etc.



Anyho it's been six years since I started writing reviews on this site :o This review was kinda hard to write and approach. I felt like it was too high-school essay-ish? Thoughts?



Asdfp277
July 1st 2016


19665 Comments


"it’s no surprise that Elizabeth Maniscalco’s career archetypes"

'archetypes' isn't a verb

"While it seems like Elizabeth Rose has simply shifted out of the periphery and collectively into dance audiences’ gaze, Maniscalco’s story is a calculated and analytical one: she’s been releasing music since 2011, while notably landing decent guest spots and studio-appearances."

how does the first contradict the second statement, how's that particularly calculated when that's pretty common among producers (particularly female ones), and how's her career "analytical"? words have meanings, yo

"In focus though, Maniscalco’s ambition is curious for two reasons: as a female producer, she’s notably broken the producer-mold in a normally male-dominated environment; and two, her music sonically gives lineage to the synth-driven pop aesthetics of the 90’s."

so the only thing that makes her "break the mold" is having a vagina? and how's citing the 90's in electronica anything, let's say, ground-breaking??

"She saddles up alongside Harley Streten (Flume) and Michael De Francesco (Touch Sensitive) as a tutor at Sydney based Ableton Liveschool, a course that gives students the ability to learn how produce using the program."

is including this random tidbit really necessary tho?

---

as a general critique, u seem to focus waaay too much into anything other than the music itself, which only seems to get discussed in a single, short paragraph. u write essay-like but ur concluding paragraph doesn't conclude anything, let alone anything discussed thorough the main body of the review, instead discussing her old songs. well written tho

Asdfp277
July 1st 2016


19665 Comments


blah blah, asdfp being a bitch and complaining about stuff he should apply to his own reviews, etc etc

tempest--
July 1st 2016


20632 Comments


great album

doomjitsu
July 1st 2016


1240 Comments


when the bit pulls tight the grip is sewn into the reins

brandontaylor
July 1st 2016


782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good to see a review for this, album was a bit disappointing compared to how great some of her earlier singles were but still a solid debut

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 6th 2016


41620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album rules but



"modern electronic revival of 90’s synth-pop."



this is not that. at all.

Digging: Edyth - Bare II

00mee
July 8th 2016


253 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ asdfp277



mm some interesting points. I was debating whether or not to go with the 'female producer' angle or '90s synth-pop' angle; in the end I went with both haha. I was inspired by seeing Rose alongside all these other male producers on the ableton liveshool site, this is why I choose to use it as an example to underscore my point. Also 'break the mold' is probably the wrong expression to use, I meant that phrase in *take interest*/it's curious for these reasons...



But ya your general discussion on context vs. the music is kinda interesting. For me, the context is important and as this was a debut, the album is kind of an introduction to the artist herself for listeners. I guess that's my thinking on that point.





@ Lord Pots Can you expand on that a little?



I did list a number of bands that I though Rose was probably inspired by. But then again it probably is a vague genre distinction.

FearThyEvil
August 16th 2016


16767 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why are people not talking about her? album is catchy as fuck

jtswope
August 17th 2016


5788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah people are missing out.



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