Flower Girl 

Caitlin Rose offers a taste of what’s to come on her debut EP

Caitlin Rose might have a voice out of decades past, but it’s doubtful that Patsy or Loretta ever would have casually asserted that—in defense of a fresh pack of cigarettes—“the surgeon general can suck on my dick.”

Caitlin Rose might have a voice out of decades past, but it’s doubtful that Patsy or Loretta ever would have casually asserted that—in defense of a fresh pack of cigarettes—“the surgeon general can suck on my dick.”

With a talent for irreverence and a delivery shaded enough to deliver every line with as much melancholy, whimsy or gumption as is required, this local star-in-the-making introduces herself with Dead Flowers, a spare, alluring EP.

A throwback acoustic album tailored to better reflect her live show, this seven-song EP does not share its upcoming full-length counterpart’s giddy enthusiasm and ecstatic palette, but it offers a chance to hear Rose—who used to perform under the moniker Save Macaulay the Band—showcase her ample vocal talents and vintage sensibility.

 Having heard rough mixes for Rose’s upcoming full-length makes this EP an interesting piece of work. Put together just two days in advance of some out-of-town dates, Flowers is more a nod to Rose’s influences than an accurate portrait of her range as an artist. That was on purpose. “The album is so big that I almost saw myself drowning in it,” says Rose. “So, I wanted to do something more focused.”

Included is an acoustic interpretation of the clever mission statement “Docket,” a stripped-down version of the morally ambiguous teen pregnancy tale “Shotgun Wedding,” an old-time country number about love and drinking—the appropriately titled “Answer in One of These Bottles”—and two songs where Rose sings a cappella over only the rhythmic thwack of a tambourine: the anecdotal break-up number “T-Shirt” and the strange, playful “Gorilla Man.”

In addition to five originals—some of which will reappear in full-band incarnations on the upcoming LP—are two covers: an understated take on Patsy Cline’s “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray” and, as you might have guessed, a beautifully controlled version of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers.”

“I really like cover songs,” says Rose. “That’s why I listen to Linda Ronstadt—song interpretation is sometimes even cooler than song writing.” Free from her own songs’ delicate sarcasm and addictive precociousness, Rose is able to accentuate her talent as a straight-up singer. Rose admits: “For the EP, I wanted to sing my guts out.”

So for now there is this EP, and in a couple months there will be the rambunctious full-length. Rose thinks the two works represent the two sides of her strengths as an artist. “To me, the album is like Angelica from Rugrats—it’s loud and fun and obnoxious, but in the best way possible. The EP is super intimate. I think maybe someday I’ll do something that’s a mixture of both.”

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