When the vocals of Ezza Rose are described as haunting, people are referring to her ability to be porous and unshakable at the same time. Hers is a lilting permeability—the way a ghost might seep through doors and walls like a supernatural fog. The same way her music flows effortlessly into one ear and out the other, leaving behind melodic traces. Her beautifully delicate, mournfully classic voice floats amongst the loosely bound, misty particles in the air and our minds and fills the cracks with a sound that's chilling and comforting, all at once.
There's no shortage of moments like these on Rose's new record, When The Water's Hot, and the album's fourth track, "Amelie," is no exception. What's different, though, with the follow-up to her 2014 live record Poolside (which was recorded during the wee hours of the morning in the tiled confines of an abandoned swimming pool in the basement of a historic hotel in downtown Portland) is the sound unveiled by her full band, marking the transition from acoustic folk singer to something more electrified and, possibly, even more haunting (especially considering the prevalent cello). And the aforementioned "Amelie" is a perfect introduction.
Inspired by a short story written by Rose's sister, Clare Sanders, the tale tells of "a painter living a relatively usual life, working a day job in retail, and living with her boyfriend. She comes home and paints every evening. She eventually becomes consumed by the color crimson," Rose explains. "The story is about a dark battle between self, creation and love—a wonderful medium for a song."
While you enjoy the premiere of "Amelie" (below), read a passage from Sanders' story:
“Amelie was sitting, head in her hands, her body trembling, atop a mountain of red sand, and she was flickering again. The record player spun from its place a few feet down the slope, somehow still playing even though the frayed power cord lay lifeless in the sand, and the speakers were nowhere to be found. The orange canvases that he’d seen that morning were scattered around the edges of the room, and they were all frayed, torn to pieces, hanging in violent tatters from their warped stretcher bars.”
Welp, Ezza Rose has put together another exquisitely haunting record that's fragile and bold, evocative and secretive in the same breath.
Now, look forward to hearing When The Water's Hot live on Saturday, January 17 at the official release show at Mississippi Studios with Nick Jaina and Water Tower supporting. The Ezza Rose Band features Jessie Dettwiler (cello), Adam Mack (drums), Arthur Lee (keys, lead guitar) and Lance Leonnig (bass).