Itâ€™s rumoured that Lou Reed used to write several songs a day, thus, meaning that every now and then, heâ€™d create a few classics. Maybe Josh Rouse has been using the same formula. Moving onto his seventh full-length album, you cannot put down this guyâ€™s passion for music, and his knack for creating beautifully written catchy country-pop songs. â€˜Country Mouse, City Houseâ€™ which hilariously rhymes with the songwriterâ€™s surname isnâ€™t a sign of coming of age. Itâ€™s a gloriously Americanised record, one to listen to outside in the sun, regardless of the time of year.
Lou Reed comes back into the equation with the feel that the album gives. Sounding like something recorded expertly in the 70â€™s, true-to-fact it was recorded in a mere six days. Happy-go-lucky rhythms in â€˜Hollywood Bass Playerâ€™ highlight the 95% American theme, lyrics especially, signal Rouseâ€™s pride in his country. â€œThe French didnâ€™t want me around, they didnâ€™t like my groove, so I packed up my bass guitar and moved to Hollywoodâ€, the track sounds like something Belle & Sebastian would have been influenced by if recorded decades ago. A weak spot in the album is the fact that nothing is innovative, nothing will break new grounds or stamp on the big toe of modern day music, but this is Josh Rouse, who knows all the tricks in the book, and it really doesnâ€™t sound like he cares.
Heâ€™s almost showing off in opener â€˜Sweetieâ€™ with its captivating ability to make you sing-along even if youâ€™ve barely listened to it before. For some reason or another though, every song is a grower, even if youâ€™ve heard these techniques, these chords a thousand times, thereâ€™s something different and lovable about Rouse in these songs that make it more satisfying as it progresses. The most interesting thing about this seemingly happy album is that behind the jolly tunes and â€œsing along if you know the wordsâ€ attitude, the lyrics prove that the sound of the record is just an escape route from the dark words that Rouse wrote down in the writing process. At times showing his own heartache; â€œIn my life, I only wanted things to go right, Oh my god, look at all the mess Iâ€™ve causedâ€, and at other times being wise words to others in need; â€œBut listen honey, I am not the kid to tell you how to love or liveâ€.
One thingâ€™s for sure, Rouse sure does write about London bridges better than Fergie does in the penultimate track of the album. Rouseâ€™s honest songwriting technique resembles Ryan Adams and Bob Dylan almost intentionally, with ease. And even though â€˜Country Mouse, City Houseâ€™ wouldnâ€™t win in a game of top trumps against some of his previous albums, he wonâ€™t be able to hide the fact that heâ€™s rather proud of this record.