E.P Review - Space - Rosie Sullivan
For today's album, we stay right here, on the Isle of Lewis; one of the beautiful windswept islands in the Outer Hebrides. On one side is the North Atlantic Ocean, on the other, the Minch, both relentlessly battering the Isles with gale force winds and driving rain.
The Sithchean, the local Faye, run around the Isles with dubious motives, while the Merfolk, patrol the coast; ably backed by the Werewolves, Kelpies, Seonaidh, Will-o’-the Wisps, as well as the Loch and Sea monsters that populate the many legends on these Isles (For more information have a look here).
The human folk who call this place their home, are a hardy bunch. They are used to hardship, isolation and long dark (really long and dark) winter nights. Yet, in the summer, when the sun cuts through the storms and the nights seem to vanish (it’s May and the sun is only drops below the horizon for 2 hours already), the reason why these folks go through all this, is clear to see. There isn’t anywhere else on Earth, as majestically beautiful, or shrouded in such ancient and diversely rich mythology as these small Isles.
Why is any of this important for an album review? Because our surroundings shape us, we are forged from nature and our experiences in life, make us what we are. All this helped shape the then, sixteen-year-old, Rosie Sullivan, from the cover of her E.P, to the raw emotion on display through the entire E.P.
Rosie Sullivan, is a full-blooded Daughter of the Outer Hebrides and right from the off, with the track ‘Into the Sea’, she uses those experiences. The sounds of the sea and a lonely wandering piano melody, brings you into Rosie’s world. A song that is as mystical and haunting, as the lands she grew up in.
‘Space’, the title track of the E.P, takes on relationships, mental health and the loneliness that these can bring. The song tackles the subjects with a maturity that is rarely seen from anyone, no matter their age.
‘Sleepless Nights’ picks up the beat a wee bit, bringing some soul music to the folk genre, while still holding the pace of the E.P. ‘Lost in my Thoughts’ and ‘Empty’, return to the more ethereal feel, yet still show off the range the young Rosie Sullivan, has already mastered.
‘Velvet’ ends Rosie Sullivan’s, debut E.P, while moving along at a faster pace, the underlying look at mental health and isolation is still skillfully and carefully crafted as the focus of the story.
With the E.P ‘Space’, Rosie Sullivan, has burst onto the Folk scene with such a mature, emotional, thought-provoking and hauntingly beautiful sound, that it’s hard to remember life before we heard her.
At this point I would like to point out that the title track ‘Space’ was a live recording, something I didn’t pick up on until the rapturous applause at the end, truly showing her talent and the authenticity of her studio music.
Rosie Sullivan’s music tells a story, it asks questions, it makes you think, feel, laugh and cry. It brings you back time and time again to be part of a world shaped by these Isles and Mother Nature. Rosie’s music is as uniquely beautiful and mythological, as well as somewhat dark at times, as the very Isles she calls home.
Space is out on all good streaming services right now; however, should you want to support the artist directly (and you should) you can buy the CD as well as find out more information about Rosie Sullivan, from her website here.
Review by James
Additional Comments from another Folk Horror Blog Folkie, Sue:
In the decades I've spent listening to music, there are voices I remember that were good, while some were bad, some a bit iffy and some simply breathtaking, and Rosie Sullivan's is definitely in the breathtaking category.
The first track with the quirky piano had my attention; and then the artist started to sing. I had no expectation of anything other than a pleasant 'listen' to a new voice on a longish journey to work, but as the vocals started, I had totally unexpected memories of the warmth, depth and range of artists like Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald.
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