With music that’s as heartening as a lullaby, yet informed by perceptions both redolent and inherently mature, singer/songwriter Haroula Rose introduces herself as a remarkable talent — and a remarkably promising one at that — on her debut release, a 5-track EP entitled Someday.
Nurturing an organic, windswept sound borne of folk and alt.country influences, Rose — whose soft, unaffected voice recalls Alison Krauss and perhaps Mindy Smith — is generously supported by delicate melodies and arrangements.
She draws on themes of doubt and self-assurance — both the presence and the lack thereof — endearing herself as empathetic and emotionally receptive. In “The Leaving Song,” for instance, she sings with a wistful premonition of how her insecurities will cause the loss of a love, likely her first of real significance. “Oh babe it’s all so new to me,” she laments amidst a gentle rustle of strings and piano.
In turn, “Love Will Follow” finds her conciliatory and strong, assuring her special someone that in spite of his apparent disillusionment — “You get further away/ Every day/ What do you look for?” — she will always be with him. A stark and steady guitar progression underscores this promise and, while its sentiment may be simple, the compassion with which Rose imparts it makes for a gripping song.
Rose turns especially pensive, though, on “If I Could Pray,” during which she questions the essence of her faith and how — if such were more secure — it would sustain her in moments of great uncertainty. Ironically, she does so against a playful rhythm of hand claps and assorted strings, making what could’ve been a brooding meditation into something more hopeful and resilient.
Of course, it would be presumptuous to conclude — even though she’s written everything on this EP in the first person (and despite references here of her as a subject) — that Haroula Rose is relating firsthand experiences or exact personal feelings. What believing in such an assumption does speak to, however, is her authenticity as a songwriter as well as an interpreter of her own works.
In just over twenty minutes, Rose makes a notable impression with Someday, delivering one of the finer debuts of the year thus far.