Rosey – Dirty Child (Island/Def Jam)

Rosey comes across like a Nelly Furtado with cred. The music is mostly a low-key dance-pop, more nuanced than the Britneys of the world. Actual dynamics and instruments will no doubt confine Rosey to the “adult-alternative” radio stations of the U.S. Maybe she’ll be huge in Europe or Japan. She should be. Her throaty voice is like a gutsy version of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons — or maybe that’s just me.

Songs like “One” boast interesting vocal arrangements and spacious instrumentation that sneaks in melodic synth sounds. It’s nothing like the nauseating pile-everything-in-the-mix style of pop radio songs. “Like A Dream” is an airy, groovey song that’s still a bit more dense than trip-hop, but just not enough of one thing really to shake the listener. The record is without a real get-the-fuck-up-and-dance song which might rescue it from late nights in the middle of the dial. You also get the feeling that Rosey’s smokey voice would send chills right down your spine if only she’d belt it out once in a while. Here, it’s reserved and subtle, but often too much so. “Afterlife” begs to burst out of its cage. The entire record is mid-tempo — like Lilith Fair with a Groovebox — and hence Rosey comes off as “lite” listening. Something you’ll hear all over Barnes & Noble.

With all the mainstream garbage out there, I wish Rosey’d taken more chances since she obviously has the chops. As for her future success –there’s surely a huge audience of VH1-watching, Norah Jones and Diana Krall CD-buying people who’d like some music they’d can tap a foot to. Hopefully, Rosey can get to them.

–TA