Just over two years on from releasing her well-received debut album Like I Used To, Warwickshire folkster Lucy Rose Parton is back with follow up Work It Out, due out in July. In anticipation of her forthcoming release, Rose and her band have hit the road this month for a series of intimate shows across the UK with two stops at Camden’s Dingwalls venue.
I last saw Rose buying records at Brick Lane staple Rough Trade Records while supporting friend and fellow female solo artist Rae Morris as she played a short in-store set to celebrate the launch of her own debut album. So it seemed strange to see Rose embarking upon a tour to support a record not due out for a few more months. But if the idea was to whet our appetites for what is to come, it was a job well done and it’s clear that playing live shows is something Rose enjoys a great deal and is happily back out doing.
The set featured a good mix of material from both Like I Used To and its forthcoming follow-up with new track Köln opening up proceedings followed by fan-favourite Lines. “I’m going to play a few new songs” she said before recollecting a story of how her new record was complete when she came up with a new song which she then managed to convince record label Columbia to allow her to record for the album the day before she started her tour. Rose then switched from guitar to a keyboard for new song Nebraska.
It was the new material that really came as a surprise, as gone were the quiet acoustic guitars and nu-folk-driven tracks, replaced by electric guitars and a rockier sound, perhaps enough of a departure from her first album that Work It Out has the potential to distance die-hard fans of that first release.
A change in direction for her live show was clear as well as Rose has moved away from sitting through gigs with an acoustic guitar to standing, switching between acoustic and electric guitars as well as keyboards.
Despite the heavier new sound, there was something magical about Rose’s delicate, quavering voice which seemed to stun the Dingwalls crowd into near silence towards the end of Like I Used To track Night Bus before they roared into a rapturous applause, a song she claimed she only plays due to fan demands for it on twitter.
Downbeat rock track For You was next, introduced by the 25-year-old as a song she included in the set to prove that her new material wasn’t all upbeat pop.
Towards the end of the main set, latest single Our Eyes received a prominent cheer, even without the ever-polite singer wearing outfits made from sausages or chips, as are featured in the track’s accompanying music video which she confessed to being nervous to release while recommending those who hadn’t seen it go out and do so.
While it’s clear to see that former Bombay Bicycle Club collaborator has taken on influences from contemporaries such as BBC frontman Jack Steadman, there seems to be more of a rocky edge to the new material being played which one hopes will propel Rose beyond the smaller clubs and support slots to playing in front of far larger audiences both near and far.
As has become customary for the 25-year-old, her own brand of tea was on sale at the merchandise stand along with handmade chocolate created by friend and open-mic companion turned Clapton-based chocolatier Phil Landers.
Following the completion of this short tour with dates at Thekla in Bristol and Nottingham’s Bodega Social Club, Rose will return to Camden for an XFM Exposure showcase at the Barfly on April 1st.
Live Review and Photographs by Kalpesh Patel. Lucy Rose @ Dingwalls on 18/03/2015