Kate Rogers
St Eustacia

By Masta G

The distinctive, ethereal tones of Canadian chanteuse Kate Rogers will be familiar to fans of her Grand Central colleagues and collaborators Aim and Rae and Christian. Her debut album sees her fulfil the promise shown on tracks like 'the girl that fell through the ice' and 'not just anybody' and displays a lyrical and musical assurance which belies its status as her first full length release.

The delicate, melancholic atmosphere conjured by lyrics which touch on love and disappointment – 'i'm... that dirty habit you'd love to break' – is counterpointed by the warmth and depth of her music. while a couple of the tracks threaten to descend into power-ballad rock (Welcome and Sum It Up), her finest moments take in pared down folk and haunting electronica. Nothing Appeals To Me Here makes use of the effects-laden guitar which sent a shiver down the spine on Aim's Cold Water Music to enhance the track's sense of detachment and emotional alienation. The bustling funk and melodic breakdowns of Sidelines (one of the more upbeat tunes) recall Ben Harper at his best and prove that the world of Kate Rogers is not solely made up of introspection and loss. Longing for an irretrievably vanished past seems inescapable, however, and returns to the forefront of her lyrical concerns in the downbeat Joan. This Collective employs a funky, bass-heavy hip hop break and its appeal to 'the eccentric believers' should not be lost on those with a taste for left field hip hop excursions. The soaring chorus of the title track St Eustacia asserts that 'I've arrived' and the diversity of an album which takes in tortured, stripped down soul and heart-warming folky funk suggests that Kate Rogers certainly has.

The instrumental, analogue sound of this album is not a total departure for the Manchester-based label but it definitely sees them widening their repertoire and respect is due to any hip hop label with the confidence to release a record like this one.
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