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    Josh Rouse:


    Thu, 23 Mar 2006 13:43:54

    Album Reviews: Subtitulo by Josh Rouse

    Moving to Spain has done wonders for Josh Rouse. That's not to say Subtitulo is an improvement on his prior releases; no improvement was necessary. He's one of the most consistent and accomplished singer/songwriters working today. But Spain's positive effects on Josh's psyche and disposition can be felt on the record. It's a cheerier and more romantic album than we've ever heard from him.

    Where his 2005 release (Nashville) was a look back and farewell to the city and life he was leaving, 2006's Subtitulo is a looking up and looking forward album by an artist that is starting his life over. A new home, a new country, a new love and a new sound. Okay, not really a new sound. There's some bossa nova flavor on some tracks, an instrumental ("La Costa Blanca" -- which could be a hint at his next career move: film composer) and a duet ("The Man Who" -- with his Spanish girlfriend), but it's still a Josh Rouse record. It's full of well-crafted, lush, intelligent pop songs that would fit nicely on a mixtape alongside Carole King, Marvin Gaye, Jackson Browne, The Cure, The Smiths, Paul Westerberg and The Jayhawks. In other words, his songs are still that perfect patented blend of pop, soul, rock and country.

    This isn't necessarily my favorite Josh Rouse record, but you could argue that he's never been better or more accessible. The opening track, "Quiet Town," is an undeniably catchy song that lets us know he is in fact happy in his new location. "Summertime" may be the most fun he's had on a song, fondly reflecting on childhood summers filled with tall tube socks, blondes and Purple Rain. And you won't find a more uplifting song about giving up the drink than, "Givin It Up." There's not a dull or weak moment in the taut 33 minute, 10-track set. There's no one better at what he does and the prolific Rouse never makes you wait long for new material. You gotta love that. - Doug Kamin

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