Prize is the first new album from Rozi Plain since 2019’s pre-pandemic What A Boost and if, like me, you have been bewitched by her music for many years then you will not be disappointed. It’s starting point was the track ‘Agreeing for Two’ which came from a week writing and recording music on the Isle of Eigg for Lost Maps records as part of their Visitations series. From there demos were made in multiple locations followed by recording in Shorebreaker studio in Bilbao, various home studios, and The Total Refreshment Centre.
If you have not heard Rozi Plain before then imagine the feeling you get when you move from the outskirts of a city, and it starts to become countryside. Prize feels softer than previous albums which had the snap of twigs and the crunch of leaves (I’m thinking of rambunctious tracks like ‘Human’ or ‘Jogalong’). This is more like walking on moss. The backing is perfection, with Rozi Plain calling on the close friends/musicians she has worked with on many occasions (Jamie Whitby Coles – drums, voice, Gerard black – synthesizers, piano, voice, Amaury Ranger – bass, percussion, Kate stables – voice, James Howard – guitar and Alabaster Deplume – saxophone); players who can inhabit Rozi’s world with consummate empathy making it sound as easy as adding milk to tea.
Whether it’s the gentle rotation of ‘Agreeing For Two’, the soft judder of ‘Prove Your Good’, the jazz-tinged shifting landscape of ‘Standing Up’, or the swell of vintage synth sounds on ‘Painted The Room’ and ‘Blink’, everything is in support of one of the most distinctive voices in music. Vocals phrases land like plump raindrops, gentle and seemingly intermittent; a soporific staccato that often appears hesitant, almost an extension of breathing, but when taken as a whole, or washed with lush harmonies, is captivating and dreamlike.
Rozi Plain makes musical limning, with each song presented like a perfectly painted miniature made with tiny delicate brushstrokes. To listen to Rozi Plain is to open a locket and find a small, perfectly represented worlds inside brought to you on cloud footsteps. A unique album from a unique talent.
Rozi Plain on tour:
Thu 19th Jan 23 – London, Rough Trade East Instore
Sat 28th Jan 23 – Chester, St. Marys
Tue 31st Jan 23 – York, The Crescent
Wed 1st Feb 23 – Hull, Adelphi
Thu 2nd Feb 23 – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Fri 3rd Feb 23 – Falmouth, The Cornish Bank
Sat 4th Feb 23 – Totnes, St. Marys
Tue 28th Feb 23 – Manchester, YES Pink Room
Wed 1st Mar 23 – Dublin, Workmans Club
Thu 2nd Mar 23 – Bangor, NI, The Court House
Fri 3rd Mar 23 – Waterford, Phil Grimes
Sat 4th Mar 23 – Ballydehob, Levis Corner House
Sun 5th Mar 23 – Kilkenny, Cleere’s
Tue 7th Mar 23 – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Thu 9th Mar 23 – Newcastle, Star & Shadow
Fri 10th Mar 23 – Cambridge, Portland Arms
Sat 11th Mar 23 – Margate, Olby’s
Sun 12th Mar 23 – Brighton, Hope & Ruin
Tue 14th Mar 23 – London, Studio 9294
Review by Paul F Cook