Lucy Rose

Work It Out

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Lucy Rose's sophomore album, Work It Out, marks appreciable changes for the singer/songwriter: it was recorded at London's Snap Studios instead of largely in her parents' living room, produced by Rich Cooper (Mark Knopfler, Mystery Jets), and embraces drums, keyboards, and pop production, in general, for a modified palette. The new direction is clearly a conscious one, moving from sparse, strummed acoustic indie folk to a driving, atmospheric, electronic sound, though all remains governed by Rose's foamy vocal delivery. More enlivened arrangements include persistent drums, mixed high on the uptempo, rhythm-focused "Köln," a song unlike anything on her debut. The shift is announced subtly at the start of the delicate opening track, "For You," which begins with soft strummed guitar, quietly humming keyboards, and slide guitar effects, until the song breaks open with full drums, synths, and echoing vocals two-thirds of the way through. (This type of development takes place on the eventually little bit funky "My Life" as well.) "Fly High (Interlude)" and "She'll Move" offer more ambient, reverb-loaded fare, the latter still beat-driven. Rose's wispy, reedy tone both limits the volume of any production and provides the charm that sets her apart from much of the Lilith Fair-variety crowd. Engaging songwriting, with lyrics mostly of the love variety here, also anchor her solidly in worthwhile territory -- Work It Out is far from a sellout-type effort. The move will surely attract some and alienate others, but her fragile, sometimes sultry carriage finds her more radio-ready without sacrificing distinctiveness. [A Deluxe Edition of Work It Out was issued simultaneously with five bonus tracks, including a live-in-studio version of Like I Used To's "Shiver."]

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