Sweet Love Songs from Rosie
Rosie Thomas is a singer-songwriter specializing in the kind of sweet, mellow tunes best saved for a rainy Sunday spent drinking tea and reading on a Laura Ashley sofa. Or the montage when the hero and heroine gradually fall in love. In short, she is for the more sensitive souls among us. Her previous albums held a certain charm owed to their roughness: live performances recorded, false starts and flubs included, spontaneous conversations and jokes mixed alongside songs. On her latest, With Love, Thomas leaves that behind for a polished studio set. No overdubs, no flaws. Although some of her charm is lost in the process of creating a more “professional” recording, her songs blossom with the fullness of the production.
With Love is a collection of love songs that leaves much of the drama behind. Missed chances, nostalgia, and subtle regret abound, but Thomas never tears her heart out. This is no confessional, and Thomas unflaggingly trusts all is for the best. This leaves most songs at a consistently moderate tempo, fitting into a single template without much variation from track to track. Her harmonies are lovely and her songwriting solid, but at 35 minutes, the whole album can pass by in one easy listening blur.
One wishes Thomas would push herself a bit further. A celebratory love song, or an angry one — let’s see what you can really do! But With Love does not explore a wide expanse of feeling. not where Thomas has chosen to show off; unfortunately, her restraint holds much of her heart — and talent — from her audience.