Eileen Rose: London Borderline

Nu-country from London-based Nashville cat...

This American ex-pat, now London resident, was the surprise treat of late last year when she debuted with the startling, haunting, country roasted ‘Shine Like It Does’ album. Live, however, she and a small backing band were swamped when the support act on London’s bigger stages, and never quite cut it on their own at the capital’s more bijou venues. Tonight it’s Eileen and her acoustic guitar for two new songs and she manages to perfectly transfer her bittersweet intimacy, showing a huge development in such a short space of time.

It’s with this new confidence that a six-piece band then joins Eileen. By turns starkly emotive and richly melodic, the full-blooded hoedown suggests more blues-country than alt-country. Mining a classic seam of music that goes back to the poetic anger of Patti Smith and the searing rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival, via Mazzy Star’s soft focus haze and Madder Rose’s shifting, awkwardly touching indie hymns, Eileen Rose is proving to be the surprise treat of this year.

It’s not all, um, rosy though. Eileen has a propensity to rock out in an ugly way, as if a brawl was breaking out amongst the broken hearts and bottles of a bar down Nashville way. Still, perfection would be boring. Eileen Rose has the charisma, enigma and ability to progress that suggest there’s a star in our midst.

Ben Clancy