Rose Kemp

A Hand Full of Hurricanes | One Little Indian
By BRETT MILANO  |  May 21, 2007
3.5 3.5 Stars
INSIDE_KEMP
Rose Kemp

Rose Kemp’s parents are mainstays of the English folk-rock group Steeleye Span; her mother, Maddy Prior, is one of the finest traditional singers the UK has produced. This has everything and nothing to do with the quality of Kemp’s debut, perhaps the rawest and most idiosyncratic take on folk rock since Sinéad O’Connor’s first. Like her mom she has a voice to die for, though hers is deeper and already sounds more world-weary. There are enough graceful melodic turns, plus a couple of shiver-inducing a cappella bits, to confirm that she grew up around folksingers. But it’s clear that she’s also absorbed her share of post-grunge. Some of the guitar/voice unleashing here brings to mind the climax of Buffalo Tom’s “Taillights Fade.” “Metal Bird” is the kind of song that KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” was trying to be — one that uses traditional ballad imagery to suggest personal turmoil. And whereas Tunstall had a nagging chorus, Kemp provides a tense three-minute build and a near-metal payoff. The young-adult angst gets overplayed on “Sheer Terror,” which is fun nonetheless: after enumerating life’s random frights, she concludes, “I don’t know about you, but I hope the rock and roll gets me,” and the song ends with a suggestive snorting sound. Hope her parents didn’t catch that.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Sinead O'Connor, KT Tunstall, Steeleye Span
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