There must be something in the water in England. That little island off the Atlantic continually produces quality folk acts year after year. In this case, I didn’t find the talent as much as she found me. Rosie May, originally from Somerset, is an up and comer in the England folk scene. She contacted me a few months ago via the MFH Tumblr, and asked if I would check out her music. This happens to me periodically, and I’m never one to turn down the potential of finding great new music but I often don’t go in with too high of expectations. Rosie May blew me away. Plain and simple.
I kept an eye on May for a few months, hoping that more music was soon to come and eventually my wish was granted when Rosie sent me her debut EP, Too Far To Swim. A concept record built around imagery of the sea, and the idea of a trans-Atlantic relationship, Too Far To Swim, has a folk-rock sound similar to that of Laura Marling. From its opening track to the album closer, the record is consistently at a high level. The first song, “This Shell of Mine,” was one I had heard months earlier, and one May had released via her Soundcloud, but in a much sparser form. The album version contains a full backing band and layered vocal harmonies giving it a fuller, richer sound. It does exactly what an opening track should, kick starting the entire album. From there, the record doesn’t let up. “Odds & Oceans,” and “Lost At Sea,” follow closely the layout put forth by “This Shell of Mine,” high energy folk jams driven by May’s captive vocals. “Lost At Sea” would have been my favorite song of the record if it wasn’t for the stunning closer, “The Water Is Wide.” The track throws aside instrumentation and lets May’s voice shine. Completely a cappella, with layered harmonies, the track is a complete contrast to the rest of the album. It’s a release of energy, a culminating sigh, a perfect closer.
My initial complaint was not enough. I wanted more. With only four songs, Too Far To Swim is relatively short, even for an EP. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that adding more songs would have only hurt. These songs were made for each other, to work together, and they do so perfectly. They fit together in a cohesive way that many groups struggle to find. Granted doing so in an EP format is easier than a full-length. But still. May was able to take a vision, and deliver a solid, and clear message in her first outing, and that’s impressive.
With a solid debut, Rosie May is primed to make some noise. Now, it’s up to the people to pay attention. And let’s hope, that whatever is in the water in England, Rosie May keeps drinking it.
Standouts: “This Shell Of Mine,” “Odds & Oceans,” “Lost At Sea,” “The Water Is Wide”