In an interview between us and singer songwriter Roxanne De Bastion held after the release of her riveting debut single Red And White Blood Cells, the artist when asked about her first album said it was a collection of songs with numerous characters and styles involved within their breath. The release of The Real Thing more than lives up to her words its wealth of evocative and emotive tracks taking their own individual journeys towards providing a constant richness of quality and pleasure. The single only hinted at the range of expressive depths and musical voices upon the album, the song itself a wonderful ‘cuckoo’ within a varied and captivating clutch of mesmeric ideas and songs.
Born and raised in Berlin, Roxanne moved to the UK after finishing school on a one-way ticket in 2007. The following years saw her continue to develop her craft and creativity whilst travelling all over the country to play shows , her nomadic approach to music giving her many musical bases and a strongly brewing following. As mentioned her first single drew great and potent responses from fans and media with its striking presence and made the anticipation for her first album eager and excitable. Released on her own Nomad Songs label, The Real Thing was recorded with producer Gordon Raphael (The Strokes / Regina Spektor) in Berlin and brings ten inspiring and graciously caressing songs to the passions. It is a release which also holds shadows within its vocal and emotional touch whilst the likes of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Regina Spektor, and Judee Sill, just some of her potent musical inspirations, are at times open whispers within her already unique stance.
The album catches the ear with 1964 first of all, its simple acoustic guitar and vocal union an upbeat smile upon the senses with a knowing understanding of how to invite and seduce interest alongside the emotions without making an overstated entrance. The vocal harmonies bring extra warmth to the already wonderfully persuasive tones of Roxanne and though the whistling for personal preferences throws a slight unbalance to the flowing charm of the song, it is a brief aside before the track reasserts its compelling hold.
The following Here’s Tom With The Weather brings a slower walk across the ear, the guitar of Roxanne adding to the narrative painting of lyrics and vocals whilst the touch of the keys add light kisses upon the brow of the song. It is a delightful melodic embrace which sets up the appearance of new single Some Kind of Creature perfectly. The song has an even stronger folk pop lilt to its warm tones than with the earlier songs as well as an open sinew to the vocals and its energy. The Hammond sounds paint an emotive atmosphere behind and around the striking vocals whilst like the first and despite the strong shadows which makes suggestions within words and shaded corners of the track, it has a vibrant and lively stroll to its heart.
The raw Empty Space with its slightly smothered but effective sheltered sound makes way for the excellent Red And White Blood Cells. With a core presence which can be described as The Pixies meets Patti Smith with Belly and the Young Marble Giants adding their unique flavours, the song has a magnetic electric guitar tease stroke niggle which across the song builds and excites itself into a sonic crescendo of energy and eagerness whilst vocally Roxanne is like the angel and devil on the shoulder of the track stroking mischief and beauty with equal clarity. It stands wide apart from the other songs in its individuality and shows even stronger width to the variety at play from the artist.
Both The Life I Lead and Handwriting, in again individual ways, engage the ear and thoughts with accomplished craft and ease, as does the slightly plaintive Somewhere upon Avon before the pinnacle of the album steps forward for the greatest seduction of the release. My Shield begins with a subdued caress of vocals and guitar, the spine and impressive stance of all songs on the album, but then allows hearty beats to add their intriguing touch. At this point the piece certainly has senses and attention riveted but it is when the strings unveil their emotive beauty that a new rapture is ignited. The melancholic yet radiant voices of the cello and violin expand into even more potent wraps and aural beauty bringing every emotive essence from the lyrical narrative and vocal deliverance to irresistible witness.
Closing with the gentle cradle of the title track, The Real Thing is an enchanting and passion capturing treat. The songs recorded as a live capture reaping every ounce of emotive value and musical imagination from their hearts for a mix of styles which leave the purest satisfaction. A must listen from one impressive emerging talent.
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