There’s a moment during Blue Roses set at the Prince Albert in Brighton when Laura Groves drops her guitar with a noisy clatter. The phrase ‘you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet’ seems to have been taken to a new level. It is the only point in the show that isn’t utterly graceful and perfect in every way. Blue Roses are really quite extraordinary.
Laura Groves may only just be escaping her teenage years but the music she creates has a significantly mature emotional resonance. Laura plays a mix of gentle plucked acoustic guitar, classical piano and electric guitar arrangements, all sparsely layered with accompanying violin and soft pitter-patter drums. Then there’s her vocal - full of a serene childlike beauty that is underlain with something of a deeper and more powerful tone. It’s the stuff of candlelight, churches, romance and quite possibly what heaven would sound like. It caresses and sonically stimulates the ears with the most tender of embraces. As she sits at the piano, her eyes almost shut, Laura seems utterly immersed in the music, the soaring highs of Greatest Thoughts justifying musical comparisons with Kate Bush. Elsewhere her voice floats and rises effortlessly like a younger sister of Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays or Joanna Newsom. Lyrically however Groves is of a different mettle to the aforementioned Bush. The songs of Blue Roses are very much those of a typical young woman singing of emotions, love, loneliness. There is nothing kooky or odd about the music of Blue Roses. Just raw honest beauty.
Every song played is utterly compelling. The heartfelt torch light gentleness of Doubtful Comforts would in any just society be topping end of the year lists. The closing Moments Before Sleep with its ethereal choral folk and looped guitar sound somehow manages to retain the endearing rarity of many other Blue Roses songs whilst sounding big, broader and more wonderful than life itself. If our gushing of Blue Roses in this live review seems just a little too much, we are not apologising. For there is nothing to apologise for. Stunning.