A fair few of you out there will already know Lucy Rose as the longtime friend and backing vocalist of Bombay Bicycle Club, contributing her dulcet tones at live performances and album recordings since their second album, ‘Flaws’. Maybe fewer of you will be familiar with Rose’s own burgeoning solo career, but you can start with this – ‘Like I Used To’, her first full-length studio album.

Not so much a new kid on the block as an old pro, Rose has been playing open-mic sessions and building up her repertoire since her move to London five years ago, and you can certainly tell. Every little nuance of every little song screams ‘experience’, but that’s no bad thing.

Granted, she won’t win over any folkie detractors; there’s nothing exactly raw about this album – it makes Laura Marling look like Patti Smith – and it’s comfortably, if not essentially, about as English middle-class as enjoying a cup of English Breakfast tea on David Cameron’s veranda. (Unsurprisingly, Rose is a huge fan of tea, having created her own blend to sell in place of traditional merch at shows.) It’s incredibly easy to see how she fits in to the nu-folk tag bandied around so much amongst the likes of Bombay and the Mumfords.

However, if you accept this album for what it is rather than volley a barrage of critique for not being the new politically rabid anthem of the proles, then we have a different story. Rose is an incredibly adept musician and the songs that she crafts are full of imagery – the recurring theme of small-town life is particularly prominent (“I’ll never leave this town”, “it’s all around the town”) and stifling.

‘Middle of the Bed’ is an album highlight, the layers of melancholy building up into a paranoid crescendo of ‘these wounds, they won’t heal’. Whilst obviously this is a love song, Rose has been quoted as saying that her album consists of ‘more than just love songs’ and the track that really helps to back this up is the glorious ‘Night Bus’, a sinister allegory to the lurking sense of danger women feel walking alone at night.

In wanting to create an album with more themes than love, Rose has been able to create a metaphorical pantheon to all the faint flutters of emotion that love and the situations around it entail. ‘Like I Used To’ isn’t going to change the world, or cause the masses to rise up from their KFC-lined graves, but it will get Lucy Rose some much-deserved recognition for a job very well done.

8/10

About The Author

Charlotte Watson

I should have been a member of the Smiths but I wasn’t – damn you time travel – so I write about bands like them instead. In the mean time, I like Los Campesinos, Foals and Regina Spektor. Oh, and tea. And gladioli.