Seven years have passed since Karen Elson’s debut record first wowed audiences with its blues-tinged ballads of murder and desolation. Unfortunately, this was a time where Elson met celebrity not for her music, but rather for the one she was married to in the form of Jack White. Infamously, the couple went on to split, and though they’ve now apparently repaired past bridges thought irreparable and moved on to become friends, Double Roses is a record redolent of her past shaping a much better future for her herself as a musician.
Hauntingly, Elson takes her music towards a new turn on her long-anticipated second output, leaving the White-esque blues leanings of The Ghost Who Walks and the old-school murder ballads along with them. Much like uncovering a shining gem beneath a gold foil wrapper, Elson has clearly moved on to greater heights to showcase her true colors as both an artist and human being on this record. Not unlike fellow songstress Rachel Kilgour, she takes the anger and the sadness brought about by a stormy divorce and rides the storm to deliver something softly ardent, delivered like a searing wisp making its way through the darkness.
More or less, however, it’s in embracing her British background that Elson finally ascends with her music rather than remain in a place similar to past constituents in a world full of White sound-alikes as is. Swirling, melody-laden harp stylings pervade the record, especially in the gripping opening track “Wonder Blind” that suitably starts things off with a shout instead of a whimper. This is a record of betrayal, but also a record of hope, fully embracing the concept of something horrid making way for something beautiful. In doing so, it’s a lovely coming-about of reaching her full form as a musician for Elson, and one that has been a long time coming.
Double Roses comes with our heartiest recommendation.
Words by: Jonathan Frahm