Album Review: Rosie Carney – Bare

Sunday, January 27, 2019
Photo by Daniel Alexander Harris (Supplied) 

At the age of sixteen, Rosie Carney found herself in a questionable record deal with Polydor, who wanted to change her image and sound. Despite feeling depleted once the deal ended, she picked herself up and her struggles ultimately led to the creation of her moving debut album Bare (released via Akira Records).

The English-born and Irish-raised singer-songwriter explores numerous sides of the human self on the LP  — including finding inner strength, self-doubt, as well as love. Bare sees her find strength in vulnerability. Though it’s a personal release for Carney, her words will resonate deeply with you as you listen to her observations of the world around her.

Bare is observational on many levels — much of the album feels like it was written as she gazed out of her window. On ‘Winter’, a song about feeling isolated amongst the dreariness of the cold, she opens with the words “I watch the leaves fall down at midnight / There is no sound but humming streetlights”. Not only does Carney manifest emotions in her music, but she’s also able to evoke images of nature and landscapes through her instrumentation. This is particularly evident on ‘Winter’ — both the lyrics and instrumentation are able to paint a picture of the world around her. On ‘Zoey’, she gently describes the sky, “The sky is auburn red / I placed my heart within the worlds / That we have made”. On ‘Awake Me’, she sings the words “Oh all the birds are falling to the ground / All the trees are growing upside down / We’re all holding onto something / Holding onto someone else’s hand”. The natural world appears to be a driving source of motivation and it takes a unique skill to turn these images into a form of self-expression. Throughout the album, Carney’s words appear like a delicate stream of water and it’s utterly mesmerising.

Carney teams up with her idol Lisa Hannigan on ‘Thousand’ to eloquently tell the story of her grandmother’s experience with dementia. The song is an extremely personal release for Carney, who describes what it’s like to see someone you love endure such a horrible illness. ‘Thousand’ captures the emotional and physical toll of the illness, but also the glimmer of hope you feel when surrounded by those who love you.

‘Your Love is Holy’ and ‘Zoey’ are heartwarming tracks about love. On ‘Your Love is Holy’, she croons “Into one / Our hearts connect / Like a song / That has no end” — her lines may be short, but she adds weight to every word by elongating her vocals and extending her notes.

On her debut album, Rosie Carney puts on a masterclass on how to tenderly blend real-life experiences, feelings and observations with the picturesque world that surrounds her.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)