You Might Have Missed: Rose Ette
Rose Ette. Photo: James Medford
There was a time in Houston when there was virtually no diversity in terms of the bands that call this city home. There were roughly two genres — rap and not rap — but in a million years I never thought I’d see sub-genres or even sub-sub-genres established in our music landscape. I don’t know what sub-genre of indie rock Houston’s Rose Ette would fall under, possible twee, but no matter what you want to call it, they’re damn good. Last October, the band dropped a cassette release through Miss Champagne Records called Jungle. The album is a mix of indie rock and dream pop to which lead singer Teresa Vicinanza adds saccharine sweet vocals atop songs that immediately stick in your head while you can’t help but bop along to each and every note.
The catchy nature of these six songs gets going immediately with the hook heavy and bedroom pop vibe of “Thunder.” While the lineup of Rose Ette has changed since this track was made, the way in which Vicinanza’s vocals intertwine with Mandy Clinton’s backing vocals create an almost heavenly sweet version of garage rock. There are actually two guitar hooks on the track that accompany those vocals to craft a sound that’s full of combined vocal hooks. It’s insane to hear this kind of complexity on a song that has more promise than something written by Juliana Hatfield. The same could be said about the following song, “Way Outside.” The slower opening quickly picks up with multiple catchy notations that offer a breezy softness that doesn’t happen much in music today. The bubblegum pop elements that go hand in hand with the classic indie rock themes make me wonder why acts like Peach Kelli Pop and Colleen Green haven’t utilized such structuring for their tunes. The song ends a little abruptly, but the payoff comes by way of a raw “yay” and hand claps that offer up an almost home recording element that makes the song more endearing than the appealing nature that the song brings by its own merits.
When the ballad-like sound of the third track, “Hideaway,” rolls in, you should have already found Rose Ette to be one of your new favorite bands. Vicinanza sings solo with minimal drums and additional instrumentation, while offering her vocals up at the top of the mix. The closest thing to modern day doo-wop, the song has a charming appeal that sticks with you from the start to the finish. Even though there are backing vocals, I kept thinking that one of the Shirelles would chime in at any moment, but I also wasn’t upset when that didn’t happen. The band keeps things on the slower side for the fourth track, “Looking For,” but that shouldn’t divert your attention. There are guitar tracks on the song that definitely steer the band out of the bubblegum world and closer to that of a band that would define themselves by their guitarist. That doesn’t mean that the sweet feel of the band’s sound is missing since it plays like the perfect song to run during the end credits of a romantic comedy.
The band goes a little trippy and teeter-totters the line between psych and indie pop on “Before&Again.” They even offer a garage pop sound with how they perform the song where there’s a nice little jam that comes in about half-way through. The dual guitars really work well here and the chorus is closer to something that Aimee Mann would have sung. They close things out with the darkest song of the six with “AH AH.” There’s a dark synth sound that coexists with a guitar playing the same notes, drawing the listener into the depth offered up. Showcasing another side to a band that seems to be more adventurous than most who make similar sounding music, the jams and little ditties that hop on and off of the song compose the fitting end of the release while adding a mystery that you might not have expected.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t love this album from start to finish, and would I be lying if I said I didn’t think that you’d feel the same way. In six songs, Rose Ette enters the Houston music scene with a bang, capturing your attention while holding it for the entirety of the release. You can pick up a copy of Jungle at Deep End Records, or grab your own copy when the band opens for Boosegumps at Satellite Bar on Thursday, July 14. The all ages show, which features sets from Dollie Barnes and Microsoft Saint as well, has doors at 8 pm with a $10 cover.