thu 18/07/2024

CD: Beth Rowley - Gota Fría | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Beth Rowley - Gota Fría

CD: Beth Rowley - Gota Fría

Raw, intimate rebirth album with a generous helping of rock, blues and Americana

Brit nominee returns, calling time on her ten-year absence

Gota Fría, or “cold drop”, is a Spanish weather phenomenon associated with violent rainstorms, when high pressure has caused a pocket of cold air to dissociate itself from the warmer clouds. Meteorologists, please excuse my basic and probably erroneous interpretation; the point here is that any person who’s experienced mental ill-health will likely relate to the idea of a sudden dip in temperature, a torrential downpour, and the accompanying isolation.

On Gota Fría, the Peru-born, Bristol-based singer-songwriter Beth Rowley explores darkness and light via classic songwriting, delivered with her unequivocally great voice and a healthy dose of the blues.

"Shut It Down" sets a moody and intriguing tone, all harmonica and snare, while "Howl at the Moon" has a feral streak and riffs straight off a Black Keys b-side. Rowley softens her edges on "Brave Face", a country-tinged love song that’ll sit comfortably on the Radio 2 playlist, and "Forest Fire", co-written by Ron Sexsmith. Tender ballad "My Boy" and confessional piece "Princess"’ are gorgeous, and the uplifting gospel moment on "Get It Back" feels like it could be an album finale. But we’re not done here yet: you get the feeling that in the world of Beth Rowley, things don’t always end happily ever after.

"Only One Cloud" sees a return to the darker sound that Rowley does so well, and the simplicity of "Run To The Light" complements this. By the time the title track is reached, a whole spectrum of emotion has been unearthed; just time for four and a half minutes of Rowley at her most haunting and most beautiful. A charming hidden track strips away metaphor and speaks candidly to an absent love: "Well I swore that I’d be fine / well I’m not this time". It’s a fitting end to an excellent record.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because 10 years ago Rowley was catapulted to major-label fame with her Top 10 album "Little Dreamer". Grateful for the opportunity, but not feeling at home in the world of mainstream moulding and polished production, she decided to call it a day. On her decade-long absence, she muses: “People always ask, ‘What are you doing next?’, and think you should always be creating. But creativity is a real up and down process for most people, which isn’t celebrated and or encouraged enough. You need to take time to stop and make sure your purpose is still real.”

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