With one look at her name and one listen to her voice, one thing is painfully clear: Haroula Rose is living in the wrong era.
On These Open Roads and its aptly-titled (though slightly overdone) opener, “Brand New Start,” the picture paints itself. Rose croons, “You gotta walk so far, lose who you are, fall apart, to get that brand new start.” With the honey voice and hackneyed rhyme scheme, Rose, ostensibly donning her best paisley print dress, plays every part the aspiring singer-songwriter à la a young Joni Mitchell or Stevie Nicks.
It’s an infamous role – and Rose initially muddles through it. Early tracks, “Love Will Follow,” “Duluth,” and “Another Breakup Ballad” (despite its striking horns), largely dilute the opener’s modest promise. At first, the next track, “Free to Be Me,” seems to face a similar fate: “Every day I wake it’s just the same, plot the ways that I can make my escape,” she claims, but its bells, whistles, and a duet awaken this potential sleeper of a set.
The introspective “Close My Eyes to See,” twangy “Leaving Song,” and hopeful “New Year’s Day” continue Rose’s uphill climb – but she has yet to reach her peak. “The New World,” a short, instrumental closer, provides surprise, but little closure. Haroula Rose has more to give – and we’ll be waiting for it.
These Open Roads is self-released and available now.