NPR logo Finding Elegance in Rosewood Thieves' Simplicity

Finding Elegance in Rosewood Thieves' Simplicity

'Untitled #1' by The Rosewood Thieves

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Untitled #1"
  • Artist: The Rosewood Thieves
  • CD: Lonesome
  • Genre: Rock

In "Untitled #1," The Rosewood Thieves' members demonstrate an affinity for vintage rock and folk music. Courtesy of The Rosewood Thieves hide caption

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Courtesy of The Rosewood Thieves

Too many retro-rock groups try to do too many things at once. Some attempt to re-create the sounds of an entire decade in a single album, while the really ambitious ones attempt it in a single song. The result is often a contrived, over-accessorized sound and synthetic, insincere lyricism. But the members of New York City's Rosewood Thieves, with their immersion in vintage rock, folk and gospel records, find elegance in simplicity.

The six songs on the acoustic EP Lonesome demonstrate the group's strong attachment to '60s folk-rock, from appealing melodies and short, bluesy electric solos to personal lyrics that paint colorful and precise mental pictures. "Honey, Stay A While," for example, describes an artist's residence in a small amount of space: "There are poems and paintings everywhere and a mattress laying on the floor."

The simplest song on Lonesome, "Untitled #1" utilizes only the crisp twang of an acoustic guitar and the subtle whirr of an organ. The song's effortless fingerpicking and straightforward melody balances out the troubled lyric, which documents a lovers' quarrel or possibly a break-up. Although singer Erick Jordan claims that "she's the best thing I've ever thought about," he ends the song by ruefully rasping, "It looks like you've got your own life / Baby, don't you worry about me tonight." It's a poignant, powerful cliffhanger, executed without needless extravagance.

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