Everything’s coming up Rowsie.
The first thing one might notice about up-and-coming London band Rowsie is their particular mix of ages and genders – two gentlemen (singer Richard Rothenberg and bassist Alan D. Boyd) with the appearance of (fairly) seasoned rockers playing alongside two younger women, one of them the talented singer-songwriter Holly Henderson (here doing guitar and backing vocal duties), and excellent drummer Jess Rollason. An interesting proposition. The second thing you notice – from their website and social media – is that they appear to be having a huge amount of fun doing whatever it is they are doing.
A lot of that fun seems to centre on guitars. Certainly, the guitar is the star attraction on new EP ‘Searching’, sometimes taking the focus away slightly from the vocals and songs. The opening track ‘Searching for a Home’ is a neat slice of power pop, all choppy chords, chiming riffs and a chorus you could happily punch the air to. Rowsie themselves mention Wilco in their press pack and the ‘Being There’-era influence is indeed a credible reference, both in the sound of the guitars and the bluesy lead lines. That sound continues on the mid-tempo and rather heartwarming second track ‘Love So Clear’, carried along on a nice tom-driven drum pattern and featuring some fine harmony vocals. Third track ‘Gaslight’ attempts a political statement, taking aim at Trump era populists (“there’s a man on a pedestal …. He tells me down is up and up is down”). ‘Gaslight’ certainly has a punky energy and a rousing hook (“don’t you gaslight me“), but the directness of the message also involves some rather obvious lines (“I ain’t buying what he’s selling, my freedom’s not for sale today“). Final track ‘Legs of Sand’ drops down a gear or two, this time into other territory referenced in the band’s bio: Lou Reed. Let’s just say it is “inspired by ‘Sweet Jane’” and leave it there.
It’s great to see a band relishing the opportunity to be a band, and this EP gives a flavour of what this rock-n-roll thing is all about – it’s attractions at whatever age.