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Loner by Caroline Rose

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Label: New West Records
Four years after emerging out of Vermont with 2014’s fairly alt-country I Will Not Be Afraid, Caroline Rose retains pedal steel in four songs and rockabilly riffs at the start of the relatively raucous and tongue-in-cheek “Money.” But mostly she discovers the sort of synths, samplers, and programmed drums that Americana-oriented New West usually keeps off the label. If you focus on her mixed-down murmurs, you’ll notice her singing flat and husky like a young Liz Phair about an exurban Topeka single mom and a diner waitress living lives of quiet desperation. The goofy catcall spoof “Smile! Aka Schizodrift Jam 1 Aka Bikini Intro” intros the sexually harassing “Bikini” itself, which might owe its “shake it girl” bounce to the B-52s regardless. So when Rose calls herself “a freak in the sheets” in the even bouncier “Soul No. 5” is she being ironic, or not? Either way, she’s having fun.

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