Removed from the acoustic leanings of their debut album, Rosemary’s Garden has returned with their follow-up, Royal Flush–10-tracks of L.A. Pop-laced Alt a la the Charles Bukowski novel, Women. Thematically, the album is rife with lyrical matter that all fall in the range of “love, sex and relationships.” The musicality has also taken a shift with producer, Brian Dobbs. This one is for fans of straightforward, to-the-face Rock & Roll leanings spiked with elements of raw indie.
“O.N.E” charges headlong into the album theme with up tempo guitar and thundering percussion leading the way into a lyrically-charged song about a woman who simply wants “one orgasm.” The guitar work is a prime mover on this rocker while lurking just below the surface is a slight vein of Social Distortion swagger. “August” leads with the heavy twangs of slide guitar over a foundation of Alt Pop sensibility while “The Jack” features gritty guitar interplay between drone strum work and effects-laden wails. The agro percussive pace carries this one along with lots of distortion and fuzz at the fills (this writer’s fave track on the album) and it just reeks of raw rawk. “Queen of the Harpies”, replete with jangle and driving chug chord tandem, continues the album subject matter. Again, front man Michael-Louis de Terre channels Mike Ness in another Social D-esque vocal delivery. With the driving Rock power behind him, the vocals work and continue to add a raw, organic “dirtiness” to the track (this writer’s second fave), which only adds to the honesty of the song. Rounding out Royal, is “Cmon Cmon” with its piano lead and slight backing percussion opener. Electric takes a slight back seat to allow the jangle piano melody to flow and rest just on top of the instrumentation. At the midpoint, guitar makes a slight appearance before returning to the tinkling melody. Again, this one is hallmark Alt Pop a la college radio.
In terms of RG’s new approach to their sound, I am all in. I like the honesty of it and the commitment of the group to allowing their music to do the talking. The instrumentation is tight and the musicality is good. I also like the ebb and flow of the album arrangement, giving appropriate tastes of differing highlights from track to track. I wondered if there were bands out there that were still just making good, legitimate Rock & Roll… I like the answer I got with Rosemary’s Garden. Start to finish, this is a four star album.
Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org