It's a pity that Rosie Thomas is releasing her first record in four years, “With Love”, and that time, healer of everything, hasn't made her think and mature, at least sound-wise. Because, let's be honest, when you took a look at artwork, and titles, like “Only With Laughter Can You Win” (2003), “If Songs Could Be Held” (2005) and “These Friends Of Mine” (2007), you can't avoid making an unpleasant comparison (secret, intimate, almost psychological), with the new affected underground comics: pages and pages of illustrations about the space between a figure watching the clouds and the clouds themselves. The kind of works that focus on emptiness and try to make something poetic out of it. In that sense, Rosie Thomas has always been very consistent. Furthermore, she surrounds herself with experts in precision - member of Sufjan Stevens' band, Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and David Bazan (Pedro The Lion) - among others. The consistency is there. Add to that a title and sleeve that are pure psycho-dramatic preservation of the status quo, and, lastly, the finishing touch: the inspiration one can get from a thyroid disorder diagnosed two years earlier.
The result of that mix - of all that orange blossom and the perfume of roses and violets - is a record compact in all of its simplicity: mid-tempo guitars, smooth, curvy rhythms, and vocals that might be too reminiscent of an intoxicated Alanis Morissette (good or bad as this may be). However: Rosie Thomas is still Rosie Thomas. Though worse things have been released by other, more talented artists (when Ani DiFranco releases a new record, for example, you always hear the murmurs about no-one needing another one of her albums, even though they're all excellent in their own right), in this case we'll have to plead for the loyalty of Thomas' fans - and those of “Grey's Anatomy” or similar melodramas - in order to defend that “With Love” has its own personality. Or that it's not another one of singer-songwriter Rosie Thomas' records.