Roses Unread – Self-Titled CD – Independent
If you are a fan of melodic hard rock and are looking for something that somehow defies categorization and gets better and better with each listen, get the new self-titled release from Roses Unread. My rule is that I only review music that I like, that I can connect to, music that makes me want to keep listening. Roses Unread is that sort of CD. Flipping through the tracks sent to Maine Music News, I knew this was a unique offering. I think you will be impressed. Here – listen:
Roses Unread combine the elements we all know and love – heavy drumming, pounding bass lines, and cracking guitar work and riffs. They may be heavy but the elements of their compositions maintain distinction while creating a deep, pulsing energy through melody and solid musical technical skill. The songs here are musically interesting and enticing, able to show more and more depth as the listener returns again and again to the CD. And all of the heavy hitting rock is combined with a female vocal style that feels like a river of warm velvet.
My ear does not gravitate to female voices, but Allison Teague Purifoy’s voice is beautiful. She melts together with the music and then soars out ahead with fluidity and ease. While many female rock vocalists take on a hard edge, Puriofy rarely seems to be pushing what is possible for her vocal range. And yet it all makes sense with the music. Purifoy’s vocals alone are worth the price of admission. Maine Music News had to ask her about her vocal training. She told us the following:
Allison: I grew up singing. It was a natural gift.
I have worked hard to get to the level I am at by practicing every day.
This may mean by singing in the car or practicing with
the guys during rehearsal. I took lessons for six months
when I was 20 to develop more vibrato and soul in my voice,
but those are the only lessons I have ever had my whole life
and I am 27 now. I feel I have created my own vocal style
by staying as natural and raw as I can and I plan to
keep it that way because it works for me.
Honestly, I expected to learn she had studied classical vocals and gospel for years, but I like natural even better.
Lyrically, Roses Unread create an empowering stance and message without feeding anger or gloating positivity or adding profanity and vulgarity. I would feel comfortable giving this release to a tween even though the lyrics clearly deal head on with relevant and deeply personal perspectives and challenges that you face if you happen to be human. The press material for the band implies that their lyrics are an effort to battle their demons. We asked Allison to talk about this:
Allison: I am a Christian and I struggle at life. There are demons every day
that try to bring me down, but through my faith I can write
about overcoming the things that haunt me instead of taking a dark path. Writing is my outlet. I go through hard times just like everyone else
does and I fall from time to time and I think my writing shows that.
Every song you hear is something I have gone through
or a close friend has gone through.
I hope I can make a difference through my lyrics.
I hope people can relate and not take the dark path either.
I hope I inspire someone to want to conquer their demons as well.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I do not shy away from the naughty, and I can tolerate a lot if the lyrics are well-written, but I have great respect for writing ability able to express timely messages in a format that does not alienate listeners. Yes, Virginia, it is possible to express important ideas without being disrespectful or monosyllabic, and Allison Teague Purifoy and Roses Unread are proof.
Let’s do the rundown of the songs now.
“Intro” threw me at first until I took in the entire release. A horror, chase scene, slasher few seconds, “Intro” may be expressing just who those demons can be – your best friend, the ideas in your head, your worst nightmare.
“My Way” is a strong start for this CD with vocals seeming to just barely graze the song with little force but huge impact. Drums are biting and the guitar riffs are powerful yet dreamy.
“Dislocate” comes on with more force, and I really like the painful images created in the lyrics to explore broken trust. I am not sure about the cookie monster addition, but it suits the genre and seems to express the velocity of the emotion.
“Just Like Me” starts with great guitar work that leans toward a classic metal riff. This song isn’t easy or slick, at times seems to let the music collide before it collects together in a tight cohesive sensation of controlled chaos. I like it. Vocals are a bit edgier here, even almost leaning toward a raspy scream at one point.
“Supertaint” is heavy hitting rock and roll through the bass line and the guitar work as well as the lyrics. “…my soul is on fire, these veins they run dry. Pump me up, press my luck…” Somewhere between pleading and looking for a fight, this song creates that dichotomy of emotion.
“Interlude” is a sweet few seconds before heading into one of my favorite songs on the CD.
“Burn Out” is radio friendly and sticks in your head. Coming out with a strong guitar line and bass and sweet vocals, “Burn Out” lulls the listener before soaring into a great hook – “You always bring me straight down, you lie to me once, you lie to me twice…” Maybe not as forceful as other songs on the CD, “Burn Out” is well-played.
“Déjà vu” lights up with Purifoy’s vocals striking staccato before smoothing out into the chorus where they are accompanied by a backing scream.
“Set You Free” is another favorite and sets the tone for the end of the CD – strong and getting even better and better. “It’s time I let go and give up this dream, it’s hurting you and killing me. I thought I could be all that you need, but in the end I’m only me.” This song is both soft and powerful. Rinse and Repeat.
“Blind Lead The Blind” combines another great hook chorus with energized backing vocals and artillery drumming and bass line. Strong guitar work wraps everything together. If you didn’t bother with the link earlier, seriously? Go do it now.
“Dark Passenger” has a fun alternative beat and bass line before laying down great guitar and dipping and swerving around lyrics that will rip off your face. Like I said earlier, Roses Unread can create lyrics that are straight from the hip and able to leave a scar. Purifoy’s vocals are reaching here, more heavy rock, and it works.
“Without a Name” is the final track. “Drop the baggage at the feet of ones who caused you grief.” There are demons galore here, and damage, and the ability to stand up and continue to live and thrive. “Without a Name” is darker in imagery and feel, complete with a great scream adding “Am I insane?” This feels like both battle cry and consciousness raising as well as being timeless.
I usually don’t review heavy rock, but Roses Unread felt different to me. They have all the charging drums and bass lines and guitar work the genre demands, and let’s face it – this genre is energizing and saturated with rebellion. Purifoy offers a great alternative for lovers of female vocalists. The lyrics are saturated with angst and grit, and the message is honest without being sentimental. This is a great release, and I don’t think this band is even at their full potential. I am betting this young woman has yet to show all her vocal talent, the band clearly has the ability to think outside the heavy music box, and there will never be a time we do not need solid, empowering messages.
Best of luck, Roses Unread. Special thanks for Allison Teague Purifoy for taking the time to answer my questions. If you get to New England, Maine Music News wants to know so they can catch a live show!