Imagine fusing P J Harvey's alleycat moan with the emotional intricacy of Tori Amos and the leftfield individuality of late Jeff Buckley. Rose Kemp is actually the 21 year old daughter of Steeleye Span singer Maddy Prior and bandmate Rick Kemp, but although her roots were in folk-rock her own muse has carried her in a different direction entirely.
Although the instrumentation is starkly beautiful, Kemp's voice is the standout instrument here. It often has the bell-like clarity of her mother's (the exquisite accapella Sister Sleep), but sometimes she drops gently to a dove-like coo or a soft miaow. Orange Juice is all Polly Harvey, scrubbed guitar discords under a lycanthropic lyric ("I became the wolf from my dreams/You knew I had it in me"). It contrasts sharply with the English conservatism of Sing Our Last Goodbye; accompanied by wheezy harmonium, Rose revisits the lost world of artists like Eddi Reader or the late Sandy Denny.
On the extraordinary Tiny Flowers she adopts a K.T. Tunstall approach to a mutlitracked round accompanied only by muffled percussion; single Violence has taken YouTube by storm with its animated video by fellow Bristol artists Francois and Rozi Plain. Metal Bird channels Jeff Buckley and Soundgarden, juggling its strange time signature and fiercely yearning lyrics ("bastard child of sunlight...twisted twin of dusk") with an almost redemptively cheerful chorus.
Perhaps the strongest track of all, though, is the terrifying, schizophrenic Dark Corners. Murderously gothic and underpinned by baroque strings and abused guitar, it tetters on the edge of all our nightmares.
Rooted in the Bristol DIY scene, Rose Kemp describes herself as "permanently on tour." Keep close watch on your local venues and don't miss her live. She's not going to be playing clubs for ever.
as published at subba-cultcha.com