This Rozelle article was written by Kerry Funnell, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson
After launching their self-titled EP, Rozelle sold out Bristol’s notorious venue The Louisiana. Having only recently found their sound within the last year, Rozelle have now joined forces with Electric Harmony and are proving themselves to be a band you’ll want to keep your eye on.
Support was provided firstly by Emlyn, whose cool, atmospheric, electro-ambience provided a relaxed opener to the evening. Although eloquent and striking, the act were perhaps slightly too serene for the crowd who were ready for something more compelling. Next up were alt-indie rock Ema Sierra who gave an impressive performance. Sipping tea throughout their set the band had an air of understated quirkiness about them. Front woman Emily Irshwood’s vocals were reminiscent of Kate Nash,Hope Sandoval (of Mazzy Star) and PJ Harvey which combined perfectly with the guitarists complementary licks dowsed in reverb.
As Rozelle emerge on stage the room is alight with excitement. A homemade backdrop of broken CD’s arranged onto black material spells out Rozelle, creating a spectrum of colour and light that dances behind them. From the outset ‘Break In’’s crescendo ignited the audience’s energy and vigour, and the band maintained their crowd with a captivating and thrilling set that no-one could help but dance to. Elements of La Roux, Fleetwood Mac and Florence and the Machine can all be heard throughout their performance yet their sound is very much their own and undeniable. Fronted by duo Hayley Smith (also on rhythm guitar) and Loulou Barry (also on synth), the girls’ vocals compliment each other perfectly whilst they themselves have a stark contrast in their demeanour. Smith is endearingly enthusiastic, talking to the crowd and freely dancing around on stage, whilst Barry is more composed and emotive in her performance with an intensity that shines through her vocal delivery.
‘Hold This Down’ was a stand out track where Rozelle showcased their genre fluidity. Barry took the lead for the vocals and it’s definitely a road the band should venture down further with her. The depth to her voice was mesmerising as the surprisingly low opening melody swelled through the room. Hard-hitting drummer and driving force, Tomos Jarvis adds an indian inspired rhythm using his SPDSX that gives a hypnotising texture to a slightly dark yet uplifting track.
‘Inhale’, which also appears on the EP, is notable purely for it’s ability to elicit goosebumps. Introspective lyrics and affecting guitar provided by Alex Rowland, ‘Inhale’ was a well received period of musing mid set that captivated the entire room. However, it was anthemic ‘Fold’ that inspired the most. Penultimate in the set and final track to appear on the EP, this one is definitely worth the wait. Bringing the set to a climax, the chorus explodes into the main hook which is both empowering and compelling, backed by an epic wall of sound from all instruments. To close, the song breaks down into an instrumental outro surrounding a raw and heavy guitar riff accompanied by gospel-style screaming synths. ‘Fold’ ends and the crowd are left wanting more. Rozelle oblige with guitar driven ‘Rust and Earth’ a darker successor to ‘Fold’, and powerful ending to a well thought-out and unwavering set.