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This review was first published on CLUAS in 2003
Other albums reviewed in 2003

Josh Rouse

Review of his album 'Under Cold Blue Stars'

Josh Rouse Under Cold Blue StarsUnder Cold Blue Stars is the third release from Nebraskan singer/songwriter Josh Rouse. Whilst American is in a folk/alt country revolution thanks to the likes of Ryan Adams and Pete Yorn, Rouse stands far apart from the same people who many might consider his peers and colleagues. For instance, some of Adams' softer touches bear a strong resemblance to much of Rouse's material, especially in the vocal delivery. Yet the rich and textured sound that is rapidly becoming his own is a far cry from the often harsh and sparse sound that Adams is synonymous with.

'Under Cold Blue Stars' maintains the high standards set by Rouse on his previous two records, the quietly intimate Dressed Up Like Nebraska and the punchier follow up Home. Opening track, the instrumental 'Twilight', smoothly leads into the sublime pairing of 'Nothing Gives Me Pleasure' and 'Miracle', the latter being possibly the finest track on the record. 'Ugly Stories', 'Christmas With Jesus', 'Feeling No Pain', there is not a bum note present.

Rouse may not be a household name but his quietly elegant yet beautifully simplistic music is a joy to behold. It might not be the most conventional of feel good albums but these are the rarest of melodies and the warmest of sentiments. If there is any justice, Rouse will be huge. If not, he will just have to the world's best-kept secret.

Mark Grassick

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