Indie trio Rose Dorn color their languid, home-recorded folk-rock songs with doses of twang and melancholy. Two years after releasing their first songs, they made their full-length debut with 2019's Days You Were Leaving. Rose Dorn formed in Los Angeles in March 2017 when singer/guitarist Scarlet Knight needed a backing band for a D.I.Y. gig. A friend recommended multi-instrumentalists and longtime friends Jamie Coster and Joey Dalla Betta; the trio's first EP, Speak Later, emerged in that July. They followed it a year later with the three-track set Call Her. Rose Dorn then joined the Bar/None Records roster and waited for Knight to finish high school before releasing their debut album, Days You Were Leaving, in August of 2019. Like their first two EPs, it was recorded with engineer Phil Hartunian (aka Follies), who also played bass on most of the tracks. ~ Marcy Donelson.
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 23, 2019 | Bar - None Records
Returning engineer Phil Hartunian from prior EPs, Days You Were Leaving, the full-length debut of Los Angeles indie trio Rose Dorn, stays loyal to the home-recorded, melancholic folk-rock that earned them a record deal with Bar/None. Rarely deviating from middling tempos and languid atmospheres, the album invites elevated feet and rain-sheltered porches. That imagery is partly suggested by Big Thunder," an over-seven-minute scene-setter that opens with the sound of steady rainfall, then a single, decaying note on the guitar. The track gathers momentum slowly, building a makeshift melody one note at a time before co-vocalist Scarlet Knight enters over two minutes in with a weary "Stay in bed till two/It's warm outside and my room is red hot and everyone is blue." The rain-scored narrative is punctuated by guitar-generated sound effects and organic sounds like bird calls and whistles before it locks into a rhythmic waltz over broken chords. Eventually, drums and distortion factor in. Functioning as an overture that leaves 'em wanting more, it leads into the bouncy "Shaking," which changes tempos with singers and points of view. The cinematic presentation makes an impression early, and the album goes on to deliver hypnotic and catchy '90s lo-fi-descended indie rock with a rickety impressionism that extends to lyrics about dreaming, sleep, and anxiety, including trippy lines like "Some light's harder to break down than plastic/Peaking through you." Song highlights include the harmonically modulating "Heaven II" and the lush, meandering "Deathwish," though the quality control here is consistent. It's an intriguing and promising debut, especially considering Days You Were Leaving was held back from release until Knight graduated high school. ~ Marcy Donelson
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