Stella Rose Delivers a Raw, Unapologetic Debut Album in ‘Eyes of Glass’
Photo: Alexander Thompson
Casting yourself into a vulnerable state is one of the prominent challenges of an artist, taking what makes you weak, vulnerable, and unnerved then bending, prying, and splicing it through a lens of expression. The result for Stella Rose in her debut album, Eyes of Glass via KRO Records is worthy of the discomfort (right down to the album cover art), as she takes the emotive messiness that beguiles many creatives into camouflage, and instead lays bare the caustic, compromised inner self to craft one of the most raw, diverse, and textured debut releases of recent memory.
Unlike other scions of entertainment greats, Rose is refreshingly earnest about her art, which since childhood was as much practiced in seclusion—time spent alone nurturing hidden vocal talents by singing karaoke style against the backdrop of the loud originals. That eventually morphed via school into a traditionalist training as a jazz singer, and that tonal control, breath-driven resonance is remarkably felt throughout the album's many tempos and influences.
With a heady milieu of escapism, enduring spirituality, and chaotic cross-generational source material, narrowing down Eye of Glass to a comfortable sub-genre is a foolish bargain. It is a standalone project in an era of piecemeal AI luring tropes, never cut short, never steered towards obviousness, a true artistic trip that paths according to your navigation. Aided by the uber-talented producer Yves Rothman, whose style often thrives on taking lonely ideas and talents and then filling the room with supportive sonic architecture, the low-fi fuzziness of the production allows Rose’s voice to dance over every track, exuberantly or methodically as the timing allows.
While the album is a study in contrast, with frantic post-punk songs like "Muddled Man" and "Faithful" balanced by nouveau jazzy ballads like "Slowdown" and "Clean," it's bound by its deliberate energy, steered by the purposeful range of Rose’s gorgeous voice. At times this vast spectrum collapses into one song, such as this writer's personal favorite "Death Rattle," which showcases all the promise Rose ingrains with her anti-palaver stylings—raw, pummeling, but soft and coy all at once. Not much can be enduringly attained in one album, but Rose has commanded we look deep into her Eyes of Glass and whatever fearful honesty it may reflect.
Listen to Eyes of Glass below: