Pop-Rock

Lucy Rose doesn't suffer fools gladly. It’s worth bearing this in mind before you reach for her forthcoming second album, Work It Out, released through Columbia Records this Summer. Lucy Rose - she means business.
“This record, it’s hopefully going to sort a few things out. Who am I. What I do. It’s direct. I love it. I’m not asking anyone to ‘get me’, but I want people to give it a proper listen.”  
Hardy of head, strong of mind, and deft of touch, 25 year old Lucy released her debut album, Like I Used To, in 2012. She was Bombay Bicycle Club’s secret weapon, and a close ally of her label peers Manic Street Preachers and Peace but while her live shows were devotional events and Youtube filled up with covers of her songs it was noticeable that the same adjectives would appear in descriptions of her music: 'fragile’ was commonplace, as was ‘gentle’, and rather you than I to mention ‘pretty’. Her debut album arrowed into the top 20, but that was merely an introduction, an opening stanza in the story of this bright young woman’s fledgling career. 
Work It Out is the sound of Lucy Rose creating a bold new context for that voice. The acoustic guitar remains present, but there’s nothing folk or shy about this record. It’s all Lucy Rose. The label paired her with songwriters, as so often record labels do, but Lucy rejected the experience following a couple of false-starts. Co-writing wasn’t for her. “I can’t just meet someone, give them a hi-5, and say ‘let’s write a pop hit!’ I write music selfishly for me and that’s what I genuinely love doing. It’s my song, not someone else’s.” she says. 
As this text is being written, her new single Our Eyes is reverberating across Radio 1 and thus to a large proportion of the nation. It suits the radio nicely. Annie Mac declared her love for it, not for the first time, just last week, and many others have since followed suit. The radio likes Lucy too, she hosted her own show alongside new-music stalwart John Kennedy on XFM just recently – playing out her favourite songs and introducing listeners to others. 
Our Eyes is a tune that strikes from the left of centre, not a complete reinvention, but a song that resonates outside the confines of those early adjectives. It adds colour, fizz, and texture to her original sound, a splash of Summer, and puts her into a different lane without removing her wholesale from the last one. 
Half of the songs you’ll hear on Work It Out began their lives on an iPad, with this dedicated hip-hop fan (genuinely, let’s not make her something she’s not) writing much of her new material on the eight pound app Beatmaker 2. “It’s been gradual, but with my confidence growing after the first album came out, that really changed me,” she says. “Most of the songs from the first record were written when there was nobody listening. But I was travelling and seeing so many places and playing music every night. I was constantly exploring, taking stuff in. It’s all filtered into the new record”
That decision to shake things up came to a head when Lucy found herself positioned on the bill between two indie guitar bands at a Summer festival, restringing her acoustic guitar as the tent bounced and heaved to the sheer oomph of the band below her. She decided that on album two was going to try something different. “I soon learnt that pop wasn’t what I perceived it to be. Since when was ‘popular' a bad thing? I wanted electric guitars on this record, and to try something with more pace and vitality. I’m so excited to get it out there. I hope it won’t alienate those that are already with me on this journey, y’know? I’d hate that."
It’s not a move she took lightly. She has a closer relationship with her fans than many musicians, replying to letters and Twitter messages, and staying late after every show to meet the most dedicated. Fans were surprised to see her after a prestigious headline show at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2013, heading home beside them on the Tube. They have told her that her music has helped them through bereavements and the hardest aspects of growing up. She doesn’t tend to refuse post-show hugs. She was painfully aware that a new sound might disappoint a few of the hardcore, to the extent that she even tortured herself reading the YouTube comments under the comeback single. 
“Someone said my record company had badly misadvised me!” she says. “I know not everyone is pleased when you change, but my favourite musicians, like Joni Mitchell, changed things up all the time. I want people to know that this is fully from me. I wanted to evolve, I wanted to keep things exciting. I don’t want to make the same music over and over. And I’m hardly rapping. It’s 100 per cent me, you’ll recognise that I promise.”
Those iPad demos were recorded and poured over, at Snap Studios in North London. “This was the first time I’d worked in a proper recording studio.” Unlike her debut, which she says featured every good song she had written up to that point, this time she had several dozen to choose from. “This has been one of the most creative times of my life. I’ve already written a new bunch that won’t feature on Work It Out, but I might play them live. The litmus test.” 
Reflecting of those recording sessions, she summarizes: “My favourite records are the lo-fi ones, full of character, unpolished. Imperfections are what makes things interesting.” 
You won’t hear too many imperfections on Work It Out, but you’ll hear a record positively resonating with this young Warwickshire lady's character. Metaphorically, Lucy isn't hiding under the table. She’s stood on top of it, bellowing these new songs out. For You, Like An Arrow, Till The End, all songs that set the bar, positioning Lucy in a whole new league. It’s an exciting place to find her, and it’s an accomplished, melody-rich listen. 
Truth be told, Lucy Rose hasn’t changed a bit. She’s just shifted the gears a bit, dabbled to the left and given it all a shot in the arm. That new adventure starts here.