First the sad news…Swan Song is most likely the last outing from Rooster Cole and the good news? It is one seriously irresistible collection of tracks which epitomises the instinctive talent in songwriting and craft of its creator.
It is not the last we will be hearing of Mark S. Aaron either, the man behind the project and frontman for British outfit Black Black Hills which are still sorely missed, as he is moving on to new adventures with his next project, Mount Sinai. The Swan Song EP is a farewell which is much more than a goodbye as it is sure to awaken new ears to the history of Rooster Cole and previous triumphs like the More Than You and Bird Don’t Sing EPs as well as hopefully into the waiting arms of Black Black Hills before.
Aaron is one of Britain’s most individual and unique songwriters and artists, every note and syllable created and delivered with a dramatic flourish and imagination fuelled enterprise. Within Swan Song alone, you can hear and feel the time taken and heart fuelling every aspect and moment of songs. It is aural theatre which invades the listener’s ears and imagination within a sound which resembles in its unique way the likes of Scott Walker, Roy Orbison, Nick Cave, and The Doors. To its particular grandeur though is an intimacy which takes you right into the blues bred soul of artist and song. Rooster Cole is a magnetic affair which has been no more seductive than with Swan Song.
The EP opens with 3102, a vibrant stroll with instantly catchy rhythms and a flirtatious hook. Guitar and bass share their magnetism around the distinctive tones of Aaron, all almost dancing with each other and indeed the listener as they head to a chorus no one could resist getting involved in. Every syllable dropping from Aaron’s lips is wrapped in emotion and suggestion, each note draped in melodic poetry as rhythms continue to guide hips and shoulders with their percussive swing. A warm stroll for the lover in us all, the song is pure manna for ears and emotions.
Animal Kingdom follows with its own instinctive sway and devilry. A fifties doo wop like lure instantly beckons aside Aaron’s rich emotive tones, that nostalgic scenting continuing to colour the appetite as harmonies and low key but magnetic melodies gather. It too makes it simply impossible not to get caught and fully drawn into the song’s embrace, infesting body and spirit with energy rich melancholic beauty.
A post punk tinge comes with next up In Line, sonic twinges springing across a rhythmic shuffle as vocals croon with eager tenacity. With every word and expression, an intimate desperation flows from the throat of Aaron, its outbreak fire on the repetitive lure of the music. It is a heat which in turn fuels the magnetic flames of guitar which erupt as the superb song sizzles to its climax leaving ears and lust hungry almost desperate for more.
The release concludes with the emotive drama of It Is You, a serenade which gathers its thoughts and emotive heat line by line, chord by chord to flame with candescent majesty. It is a song which maybe does not strike as forcibly as its companions on the first listen but blossoms into an essential richly emotive hug which sums up the exciting adventure with Rooster Cole these past years perfectly.
Though it is not the last we will be blessed with the imagination of Mark S. Aaron, it is hard not to have a sense of sadness that this is most probably the end of Rooster Cole. As with all great relationships, good memories will prevail and great songs continue to linger in the passions, Swan Song offering a heady dose of both.
The Swan Song EP is out now on iTunes and @ https://roostercole.bandcamp.com/album/swan-song-ep
Pete RingMaster 17/10/2017
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