Formerly known only as "Rosay" in British retro-pop girl group the Pipettes, Rose Elinor Dougall left the band in 2008 and released a series of singles: "Start/Stop/Synchro," "Another Version of Pop Song," and "Fallen Over." That trio and eight additional tracks form her first official solo LP, Without Why, a disc that will leave Pipettes fans asking, well, "Why?"
Dougall has reversed course on her soulful yet upbeat Pipettes persona, opting for strange, meandering indie pop backed by toy pianos and strings. Add to the mix conspicuous lyrics like "I don't think I am any/Of the things you said I am" (from the downer ballad "Find Me Out") and it appears that her transformation has been quite conscious.
There are some bright musical spots: "May Holiday" uses said strings and a flurry of drumming to create a pensive, Kinks-ian tale of daily life and love, and "Synchro" and "Fallen Over" are both catchy enough. But only the mid-tempo gem "Third Attempt" begins to achieve Pipettes-like levels of melodic bliss. Which makes it all the more frustrating that Dougall has chosen to head in another direction.