Rosemary's Garden - Royal Flush
It's not that I necessarily have anything against indie folk, but when I hear a band name like Rosemary's Garden, my thoughts immediately turn to hushed lyrics over minimal guitar plucking, while people huddle in the fetal position to quietly weep over what they're listening to. And from what I had quickly read about La musique du jardin, the California quartet's 2009 debut, I'm apparently not too far off from a gentle, childhood-memories-meet-acoustic-guitar perspective. If that's your cup of Tazo tea, that's cool, but something obviously came over this band in the years since...
Rosemary's Garden's handle reportedly takes its inspiration from singer/songwriter Michael-Louis de Terre's grandmother. If Rosemary is still around today and got a taste of Royal Flush, she'd probably go red with embarrassment. It's quite the raunchy departure; it would seem that de Terre's vocals have become a lot more whiskey-raw, backed throughout by an infinitely more bluesy, almost ragtime rhythm. I wouldn't be surprised to tune into one of those genealogy reality shows and find out that de Terre is in fact related to George Thorogood. Somewhere in Rosemary's garden, there's a tree with "Destroyers" carved into it. OK, bad attempt by me at humor, but I'll tell you what's not a joke - How rocking this album is!
Luckily for Rosemary, it's not all drunken debauchery and palling around with the Devil. There are some nice, retrospective moments with piano accompaniment on "Stop This Beating of My Heart (Torn in Two)" and "C'mon C'mon". Some tracks, like "King" in particular, are also more hokey than folky. And if for no other reason, as a longtime Simpsons fan, anyone with a song called "Queen of the Harpies" instantly registers with me, as it was no doubt drawn from the 1991 episode The War of the Simpsons. It doesn't hurt that it has some kick-ass harmonica playing! Leave the indie folk in the proverbial backyard and come inside to have some fun; Royal Flush is a winning poker hand if ever there was.
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