EP Review: Caitlin Rose – Dead Flowers EP

by Katherine

Read our interview with Caitlin HERE.

(Posted at ThisIsFakeDIY.com)

Bright Eyes, M. Ward, Jenny Lewis, Monsters of Folk…just when you’d thought Americana had been done and done to death, along comes Caitlin Rose – ‘Rock & Roll’s tambourine-toting little sister’ who plays her gutsy country ditties with a charming, wide-eyed authenticity, suggesting she is entirely unaware that every dude with a beard and a banjo has been desperately trying to emulate the same sepia-tinted nostalgias she conjures on ‘Dead Flowers’ with enviable ease – and heaps of added sass.

The EP kicks off a jaunty ode to quickie marriages, ‘Shotgun Wedding’ – Ms. Rose, tongue firmly in cheek, spouts winning lines such as ‘It’s the right thing boy/ Put that ring around her finger/ And don’t you stop to worry that the feeling won’t linger…’ with a sweetly spry sarcasm, contrasting nicely with the poe-faced sentiments spouted by many of Caitlin’s peers – there’s no room for any kind of Oberst-style nihilism on ‘Dead Flowers’; Caitlin’s having way too much fun for that.

And despite the EP’s bleak title, on ‘Dead Flowers’ Caitlin’s prerogative is simply having fun -‘Gorilla Man’ sees Caitlin displaying her deliciously childish sense of humour –featuring Caitlin chirruping over a bizarre, tambourine-accompanied primate waltz like a Southern Kimya Dawson, it falls firmly on the right side of twee. On her MySpace, Caitlin may describe herself as ‘uneducated and dumb’, but it seems someone’s been paying attention in English class – ‘Gorilla Man’ is full of the kind of droll, searingly witty word-plays that’d make English teachers swoon; a particular highlight is ‘Now he’s with some chimpanzee/ And all she’s doing’s aping me/ Gorilla man, come down and talk to me’.

However, there’s far more to Caitlin than comedy – ‘Dead Flowers’ plays host to it’s fair share of heartbreak too – see lovelorn torchsong ‘T-Shirt’, where Caitlin coos ‘Baby, I’m sorry/ But I’m not the way that you saw me’ with uncharacteristic (but touching) sincerity, and the two covers on ‘Dead Flowers’; Patsy Cline’s ‘Two Cigarettes In An Ashtray’ and ‘Dead Flowers’ by The Rolling Stones, which both prove that Caitlin Rose can sing with heart-wrenching strength when she wants to.

The EP’s charming centrepiece, however, is ‘Docket’ – which comes on like a sassier, non-cloying and generally better version of The Moldy Peaches’ classic ‘Anyone Else But You’ and features probably the EP’s finest lyric – ‘I got a fresh pack/ I got a red bit/ The Surgeon General can suck on my dick/ Woah-oh-oh’; any naysayers who have marked Caitlin down as a pale imitation of Linda Ronstadt or Patsy Cline will have their invectives immediately hushed on listening to ‘Docket’; it’s impossible to imagine any of the country legends Caitlin is frequently compared to delivering the supremely childish insult with the same level of wide-eyed nonchalance as Caitlin does – Caitlin doesn’t just deserve those numerous weighty comparisons to the country greats, she downright transcends them!

In conclusion, ‘Dead Flowers’ is an EP of almost unbelievable quality – featuring both genuine belly-laughs and heartbreaking ardencies, if Ms. Rose doesn’t garner some serious attention in the coming months and years, I’ll eat my Stetson.