It’s been nearly two years since Rosalie Cunningham has released her follow-up sole self-titled debut album which was my album of the year in 2019. While it’s also been a year since going into lockdown mode due to the pandemic and COVID-19, music has always kept my spirits up and running. But Rosalie shows no sign of stopping as she’s released her single on the Esoteric Antenna label, Number 149 and the B-Side, Fossil Song.
The first track, Number 149, which was named after the house that she grew up in that still photograph, is a trip down memory lane for Rosalie to remember the childhood memories she had as a kid. There’s a bit of course, The Beatles, but with the Mellotron-sque dreamy landscapes that she and Rosco’s drumming brings, it opens the doors up into this twilight zone-sque parallel universe.
I think of the Syd Barrett approaches that are on here while Rosalie channels her brutal riffs in some of the midsections as if she is crying out to the gods up into the mountains of Asgard by raising Thor’s hammer with a battle cry. There’s also the finale where they stomp into the Slade groove thanks to Rosco’s drum patterns, clapping rhythms, and dancing to the beat that Rosalie does by taking the listener into the unknown.
Fossil Song is Rosalie’s tip of her Mad Hatter’s hat to both comic book writer Neil Gaiman and Van Der Graaf's Peter Hammill. I feel this tug towards Marc Bolan’s lyrical arrangements as she does this cat-and-mouse texture between her and Rosco. But while the Beatles inspirations are there, there is the Saucerful of Secrets-era of Pink Floyd in there as the midsection sees her delving into Richard Wright’s See-Saw with some wah-wah effects at the end that is like the finale of a psych-prog take version of Alice Cooper’s Hello Hooray.
While it’s a single, it’s sort of what’s to come on her second album that she’s been working on since last year. Esoteric has been one of my favorite labels since 2008 and for her to be a part of the Cherry Red family, it must be a dream come true for her to see what she has in store with her follow-up for 2021.