Seattle-based psych-rock explorers Rose Windows made their debut in 2013 with The Sun Dogs, an ambitious, sprawling album that veered from country, folk, and blues influences to space rock, with string arrangements recalling Persian traditional music. The album had several concise folk-psych songs, but its highlights were when the band stretched out for ambitious jams such as "Native Dreams" and ten-minute epic "This Shroud." The group's self-titled second album cuts down on the group's more excessive tendencies, with only "A Pleasure to Burn" surpassing the five-minute mark, and seems to have more of a stripped-down songwriting style as well. The first album's mysticism remains, as displayed by opener "Bodhi Song" and the presence of flutes and sparkling chimes on several songs. The album has a little more of a proto-metal hard rock swagger, with songs like wah-wah guitar-heavy "Glory, Glory" shooting for the arena. At the same time, there's a bit more of a laid-back psych-soul feel to songs like "Blind" and "Strip Mall Babylon," the latter of which nonetheless has an oddly placed aggressive crunch to its chorus. Other tracks musically seem arid and empty, making one miss the more expansive arrangements of the previous album. The lyrics are somewhat bitter, with "The Old Crow" opening with the singer shooting her lover, and "Aurora Avenue" being a lonely, isolated backroads lament. This isn't to say that the album is devoid of hope, as closer "Hirami" ultimately encourages perseverance while living in a crazy world, but the album still ends up being somewhat of a downer. Rose Windows ends up being a strange mix of light and heavy, sometimes hinting toward a mystical hybrid of Black Sabbath and Jefferson Airplane, but not entirely in a successful way.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson