[Album Review] Hey Rosetta!- Second Sight
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by Mark Anthony Brennan
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Release Date: October 12th, 2014
Label: Sonic Records

Hey Rosetta are indeed a Newfoundland band, but not in the traditional sense. There is no discernible maritime folk or Celtic strains in their sound. In fact, at this stage in their career, their music owes more to the urban indie centres, such as Seattle, New York and Montreal, than it does to the fog enshrouded town of St. John’s. But the Rock is in their souls nevertheless, and this is quite evident in their lyrics. Throughout ‘Second Sight’ there is a running theme of perseverance through adversity and an undying optimism – themes that form the very fabric of what it is to be a Newfoundlander.

The album starts of with what is indeed a soft offering, with singer Tim Baker sounding somewhat vulnerable accompanied only by keyboards, that is until the rest of the band joins in and we launch into a lively alt pop number. “Gold Teeth” maintains the energy level with an indie folk rocker backed with a rollicking beat. After the plunky piano pop of “Dream”, the band slow things down with the gorgeous “What Arrows” in which Baker’s hushed vocals are set to a beautifully lush (but not lavish) arrangement. By this time, the album’s pattern has been set — there are the perky indie pop songs such as the Vampire Weekend-ish “Kintsukuroi” and there are the lovely ballads such as “Alcatraz”. Where these two styles come together is on the standout track “Cathedral Bells” which starts off as a gentle folk number but then slowly builds up to a more bouncy level towards the end.

With horns, strings and keyboard to bolster their traditional rock band core, Hey Rosetta! has a rich palette to draw upon. Their real skill, however, lies in their restraint, because, no matter how full the sound may be, they never overwhelm the immediacy of Baker’s vocals. His voice has an attractive huskiness, and its endearing imperfections just make him all the more relatable. And when he sings who says we couldn’t, make it just like we love it, why can’t we, just like a dream?” we don’t cringe because we know he genuinely means it. After all, he’s a true Newfie.