Managing to sound invitingly nostalgic and refreshingly new, the Heart EP is a captivating full introduction to Rosenthal, a Danish band already drawing a healthy buzz around themselves. Consisting of five tracks which can be described as being bred from a merger of new wave, dream pop, and shoegaze with a psychedelic colouring, the band’s debut EP is an intriguing and increasingly enjoyable embrace for ears and imagination.
Rosenthal is the brainchild and project of Copenhagen-based songwriter and producer Jeppe Kiel Revsbech. Last year saw the release of two singles, both Lashes and Afraid of Stairs sparking keen attention and enthused reactions to the band’s presence and sound. Now fresh off their successful first UK tour, the band is set to reinforce and push forward again their emerging presence in a wider arena with the Magnus Vad produced Heart EP, and with Ask Kjærgaard (guitars) and Kasper Nyhus Janssen (drums) alongside Jeppe Kiel Revsbech (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Rosenthal is continuing 2015 in fine style.
The EP’s title track starts things off and sets an early pinnacle for the encounter. The resonating yet earthy bass tone which opens the track is alone an instant irresistible persuasion. It has the same dark flavouring which gave depth and potent shadows to the early sounds of The Cure and equally Joy Division. In no time guitars add their minimalistic but expressive colour too whilst the floating vocals of Kiel Revsbech glance over ears like Green Gartside of Scritti Politti. The emerging melodic elegance of the song is a radiant hue, uniting with the mellow and sizeably infectious air of the song to incite an eager appetite in response. It is a fabulous start to the release, mesmeric yet holding a slight agitation which only adds to its compelling presence.
The following April Eyes has a lighter and airier breath to its bouncy energy and presence. From the off melodies are caressing ears whilst the bass toning again carries a dark shade to its otherwise less heavy tempting, both courted by an imagination and unpredictability throughout which sees the song easily slip from its energetic stroll into a reflective calm. This peaceful passage though is soon at the centre of a brewing emotive and sonic tempest, a brooding climate which never erupts but certainly brings an edge and drama to its landscape.
The acoustic charm of the brief instrumental An End to the Trial comes next, the stringed caresses of guitars an evocative spark for the imagination before Void wistfully seeps into ears and thoughts, again guitar expression the leading colour. Its folkish, provocative simplicity makes the perfect canvas for the similarly reserved yet vibrant vocals. It is a simmering sunset of sound and emotion but as darker hues add their tints it evolves into a tempestuous atmosphere of dark alternative pop. From a potent start it grows into a bewitching proposal for ears and thoughts, spicy hooks and tangy melodies expelling mouth-watering noir bred temptation. The song is an enjoyable slow burner but grows even more thrilling in its latter climatic stages.
The closing A Dream is like the first song, one seeded in the post punk and dark pop of previous days whilst casting its own fresh character of sound. Resourcefully bred from a New Order/Bauhaus seeding, dark wave shadows ignite the passions instantly whilst the emerging Billy Momo like folk charm and Cocteau Twins like ethereal melodies, simply absorb and accentuate the whole unique adventure. Keys also add suggestiveness to the mix, an OMD spicing working within their poetic ambience. It is a tremendous song and end to the EP, Heart bookended by its best two tracks but with plenty to eagerly embrace in between.
As the final song slowly drifts away it leaves ears and thoughts keen to immerse once again in the Rosenthal sound. Heart is not exactly going to bowl you over with listen one but it lingers, luring the listener back time and time again, a rich success in any one’s book.
The Heart EP is available now via Afterimages via most digital stores.
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