THE END OF ROSALINA – Black Smoke (Album Review)

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The End of Rosalina - Black SmokeNow I’ve never met them, but The End Of Rosalina seem to drip cool. Not as much as ZZ Top, but almost, and Black Smoke is their debut album after all so there’s plenty of time to catch up.

Out on Mighty Music, Black Smoke has many varied influences and the album is an eclectic mix of rock, blues, and indie with the occasional smearing of grunge (but don’t hold that against them).

The album starts off in rip-roaring fashion with the blues-rocker “Black Smoke”, full of great rhythm, southern-drawl vocals, and a punchy top-notch solo. Cracking start.

Next up from the Danish outfit is another bluesy affair, with “No Suit Is Suitable” which starts off in subdued fashion but gets going with the emotional singing of Jakob Riis.

We now have rock on offer from The End Of Rosalina with “Fixed By Her”. This song goes from thoughtful to rocking and back again, an enjoyable journey.

“Octopus” then follows with its hypnotic feel but then there’s a distinct change for the next couple of songs, starting with “Together We Interact”. On this song, Jakob Riis definitely sounds like Brian Milko of Placebo. It’s a nice easy-paced arrangement with a beautiful solo from Michael Knudsen. The song also manages to aim a dig at Deep Blue Something, which is never a bad thing.

Riis is still in Milko mode for “Settling Down”, which for me is the only filler on the album. A bit trudgy but I can see past that considering what it is surrounded by.

“Seven-O” gets Black Smoke back on track and Jakob Riis returns to, er, Jakob Riis mode. The song, once again, has a hypnotic feel and comes with a fitting solo, courtesy of Knudsen.

Catchy riffs are the highlights of “Little Black Dress”, an upbeat number and, I’m guessing, a crowd pleaser at gigs.

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The stripped down rocker that is “Testosterone” does exactly what you’d expect from a song with this title. Raw and solid as a rock. Drummer Simon Edwardsen keeps this one going, ably supported by brother Steffan Ravn Edwardsen on bass. There’s also a brief Iron Maiden-inspired solo in there too.

The End Of Rosalina ramps it up on the powerful “Rosalina” where Jakob Riis earns his corn. Perfectly placed vocals in amongst precise riffs work superbly and another Maiden-esque solo and subsequent rhythm guitaring make this song a challenger for best song on the album.

Black Smoke comes to a close with “Dear Johnny” which is where the smearing of grunge appears. It’s a successful marriage of grunge, blues, and rock which works a treat.

This is a hugely successful first outing for The End Of Rosalina. You can tell they’ve spent a lot of time perfecting their art as all the songs are considered, thoughtful, individual pieces.

I truly hope they have a long and prosperous future ahead of them, they deserve it.

BUY BLACK SMOKE

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