Two years on from the critically acclaimed Stellular, Rose Elinor Dougall returns with her third solo album A New Illusion. With a noticeable shift in dynamic A New Illusion sees Dougall looks into the abyss – the millennial-burnout, Brexit-apocalypse, those impossible disappointments of growing up in the 21st century Britain – singing quietly with piano, with guitar, and with a gentle fuck-it attitude.
With that essential instinct, Dougall is aligning herself with the tradition of Sandy Denny, Bridget St John, Anne Briggs – English women who sang with proud fragility. It’s evocative of the English sweet-sharpness of Kirsty MacColl too – in the dreamy jangling pop lifted up by clear folk vocals and a minor-key melody.
Lead single First Sign took shape during a trip to a remote part of Andalusia. Sonically Dougall wanted to reflect the “sparseness and silence of the place in the sound of the track. I was looking for a loose, hazy feeling to the music to sit with the imagery of the song. I wanted it to sound like the end of summer.” There’s a darker rage on Take What You Can Get, with it’s plunging guitar riffs and panicky violin jags. The album skips and blurs between the public and the private realms.
A New Illusion is slower and more confident than her previous albums – the themes may be urgent but the sound is more relaxed.
LP – Black Vinyl.
LP+ – Limited Transparent Blue Vinyl.