Review Summary: Glossy cynicism.
Having low expectations for something can have its redeeming rewards. I mean, there’s nothing worse than anticipating an album and having it bitterly disappoint you when it comes to the crunch. So, there’s something to be said about having a completely blank slate prepared for when listening to something based solely off its cover. After flicking through the latest releases for this week there was something particularly transfixing about Caroline Rose’s cover for Loner
; what type of sound was she trying to sell to me? Standing in front of a white backdrop with 50-sum cigarettes in her mouth and a gormless expression on her face. It left me with a curious intrigue where I had to at least listen to one track to see what it could offer. To my surprise, “More of the Same” is a raw stripped back number of simply composed instruments: the synths carry a blithe attitude of bouncy upbeat notes that emit an almost comical display to the kind of sound one would hear at an English seaside resort; eating a cone of chips on a red and white pinstriped beach lounger next to your gran with suntan lotion smothered on your face. It sounds like I’m underselling it, but it shows a smart display of Caroline’s abilities as an artist: catching my attention immediately by serving up a rather queer sound in a completely zesty and entertaining way. Its accompaniment of a simple rhythm section and Caroline’s subtle reverb-saturated vocals mirror a sound similar to what Kevin Parker has been cooking up with his most recent Tame Impala records.
is a far more diverse offering than its opening track lets on. There is an eclectic mix of styles to unearth here, the slow brooding and folk-y “To Die Today” offers an undercurrent of pulsating sub-bass, delayed guitar notes that shimmer on top of the moody atmosphere with excellently performed, low-spirited melodies and a macabre subject matter that brings a seriousness to the forefront of the song; it’s here where the album really grounds itself and displays a facet of intricacies. The satirical and groovy “Soul.5” showcases its topic with obvious irony as she discusses superficial materialism in today’s society and then barks “I’ve got soul” after her declarations. “Money” and “Bikini” are in the same cynical vein and poke further fun at Western civilizations obsession with money and the demoralisation of women. Her lyrics are hardly a masterclass for the field, but they are indeed one of the strongest qualities for the record. It’s nice to hear someone like Caroline go to town on contemporary problems I can see and relate too. The indie-rock blare for closing track “Animal” is a suitably fitting style to end on, showing a modest aggression with impassioned and catchy hooks that voice her abilities as a singer, before letting out some frustrated shrieks for the closing seconds of the song.
There is a lot to tuck into here stylistically: you’ll be sent through Tame inspired numbers like “Jeannie Becomes a Mom” and “More of the Same;” gloomily encouraged Lana Del Ray tracks “Talk” and “To Die Today;” and a good ol’ dose of bombastic flamboyancy with “Cry!” and “Bikini,” which show just how capricious this album can be at times. Yeah, I’ll admit, it’s not the most cohesively designed album, but these different faces work as engaging tools and made me want to revisit Loner
right after I’d just finished it. The lyrical content resonated with me, and the implementation of all these ideas coated with an indie-rock mindset make her standout from the crowd. This was an impulsive listen, and I’m glad I took the leap to see what the artwork had to offer.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A