XL, 2009
Laura Groves, otherwise know as Blue Roses, epitomises DIY music-making. She started writing songs at the tender age of seventeen in Shipley (population 28,487) outside of Bradford England, being inspired by artists and composers as varied as Bartók and Tears for Fears. She dreamed of recording an album that would inspire people in the same way artists like those had inspired her. Her debut, Blue Roses, was recorded in the bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms of her family and friends and, in a heartening display of altruism, using a wealthy music enthusiast’s new Steinway piano.

Blue Roses opens with “Greatest Thoughts” which provides a glimpse of the genius that is apparent throughout the entire record. The theatrical style is reminiscent of early Kate Bush and is equally as enchanting. From the beginning you are drawn into an inner world created by Groves, one which she makes you feel few people are privy to. Both “Cover Your Tracks” and “I Am Leaving” expand on the talent displayed in the first song whilst also expanding the number of instruments used. Piano, guitar, violin, accordion and synthesiser are all utilised to achieve Blue Roses’ creative vision. This, along with the addition of both female and male backing vocals, helps to add depth to the heartfelt lyrics and Laura’s crystal clear delivery.

The disc reaches a definite high point with “I Wish I…”. Despite it being one of the more minimalist tracks on the record, from the moment the first few piano chords ring out and Groves sings the first line “I called you and got what I deserved/Heard that laughing in your words” it really doesn’t seem to matter that it is missing the instrumental depth of some of the other songs. Despite some slightly weaker efforts towards the end of the record, such as the contrived sounding “Rebecca”, the triumph of “I Wish I…” makes it difficult not to fall in love with the album and indeed Blue Roses as a whole.

Blue Roses is a surprisingly strong debut from an artist who has a refreshing view on making music. We’ve filed Laura Groves firmly under “one to watch” and if her songwriting skills continues to flourish then her dream of creating a truly inspiring record could be realised.

Roisi Proven