Roses and Cigarettes releases acoustic EP
by Michael Rand
Indie unit Roses and Cigarettes charmed American audiences and critics with their country-tinged self-titled debut, and now in their new acoustic EP Roses and Cigarettes: Acoustic Sessions, they prove that they can rock just as hard unplugged as they can going electric. Roses and Cigarettes have never made any issue about telling us exactly who they are with their music, and Acoustic Sessions is no different in this sense. What is different about this EP is the vibrancy, making otherwise simple tunes feel almost orchestral when delivered in such an organic form.
“Another Way” opens up Acoustic Sessions in a grandiose fashion, greeting listeners with a stunning guitar part that shimmers and glows like a new rising sun. The breathless vocals weave their way between the bright strings like a thread being sewn into a detailed tapestry, with the swing of the tempo blending into the vocals to create a feeling that is nothing short of inspiring. The stellar melody tells us that we can do anything, while the earthy lyrics remind us that the only limit to our success is our own vivid imagination.
Acoustic Sessions’ “Echoes and Silence” is a little more black and white than “Another Way” is, but ,Roses and Cigarettes’ divinely colorful textures keep it from digressing into self-righteousness. This was one of my favorite songs from the record and would likely serve it well as a single, but it doesn’t overshadow the rest of the content that the EP boasts. Despite its title, the vocals are the real draw in Acoustic Sessions, and every gorgeously nuanced guitar track is immaculately outfitted with a wonderful set of pipes to finish it.
One thing that I feel like Acoustic Sessions is missing more than anything else is a vaulted darkness in the way of “Shelter,” the exotic number that flaunts the band’s mischievousness in track five. Indie pop has been dominated by figures who have basked in their own self-indulgence, and though Roses and Cigarettes have been careful to avoid egomaniacal themes in their past music, this song is a piece of opulent decadence that was missing the duo’s sound. I’d love to hear them record more swaggering tracks like this one in the future, although if they didn’t I could see this becoming a heavily requested deep track when they play live in concert.
Roses and Cigarettes are a multidimensional band to put it mildly, but their new extended play offers a focused collection of some of their most straightforward material realized in high definition audio. Acoustic rock is often (wrongfully) relegated to an alternative country subcategorization, but I think that Acoustic Sessions does a good job of setting its artists’ sound apart from the pack. If you’re a fan of their first album, there’s more than a good chance that you’re going to fall in love with their latest release, which gives listeners the most unfiltered access to the band’s sound to date.