Rose Cousins has what it takes

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Contents -

WHEN Rose Cousins sings she soars and swoops, never to show off but al­ways in ser­vice to the song.

The Cana­dian’s glo­ri­ous alto pro­vides in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion on “Nat­u­ral Con­clu­sion,” but the charms of her com­po­si­tions re­veal them­selves more slowly. The al­bum is dom­i­nated by sad songs con­cern­ing mat­ters of the heart, and the tem­pos are mostly slow, cre­at­ing an ini­tial sense of same­ness. And while Cousins can be hi­lar­i­ous in con­cert, there’s no hint of hu­mor here.

But the sparse, or­ganic, pi­ano-based ar­range­ments are filled with rich de­tail, as are lyrics that ex­plore the dark re­cesses of re­la­tion­ships. Pro­ducer Joe Henry wisely gives Cousins’ voice plenty of room to shine, and she makes the most of the lovely melodies on “White Flag” and “Donough­more.”

This mu­sic’s not in a hurry. Cousins sings lots of whole notes, as if the pitch has found a happy home and doesn’t want to leave. The only tune with a lively tempo comes half­way through the set on “Chains.”

But Cousins finds other ways to change pace, need­ing just 90 sec­onds to ad­dress back­stab­bing be­trayal on “My Friend.” Else­where she sings of sin, sur­ren­der and un­cer­tainty. “I don’t know if I have what it takes,” she con­fesses. There should be no doubt.

The al­bum is dom­i­nated by sad songs con­cern­ing mat­ters of the heart, and the tem­pos are mostly slow, cre­at­ing an ini­tial sense of same­ness.

(STEVEN WINE/Associated Press)

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