Subtitulo Label: Nettwerk
Josh Rouse is fast becoming one of the most prolific songwriters out there. Okay, maybe he is not as prolific as Ryan Adams, who seems to release something new each week. But Rouse releases just enough music to keep his fans excited and aware of what he’s up to, even after moving from Nashville to Spain last year. And with another great batch of songs on Rouse’s latest, Subtitulo, there is proof that an artist can successfully bridge the gap between quantity and quality.
There are introspective acoustic-driven tracks on the record that balance Rouse’s airy, soothing vocals with melodies that border on brilliant. Examples are “Quiet Town,” the bouncy “Summertime,” and folky “Jersey Clowns.” But Rouse really shines when delivering fully produced material akin to his breakthrough album of a few years ago, 1972. “It Looks Like Love” could have easily been an AM staple back in the seventies alongside the likes of Pablo Cruise and Nicolette Larson, and that endearing throwback quality is also evident on the Latin-flavored “His Majesty Rides” and uplifting “Givin’ It Up.” There’s also some Spanish titles, including the instrumental “La Costa Blanca,” and closing track, “El Otro Lado.” He doesn’t sing in Spanish, but Rouse is clearly becoming influenced by his surroundings.
Rouse also is a storyteller, and on “It Looks Like Love,” he’s singing about a poor sap who falls for the unattainable, whether she’s a stripper, actress or model. Tell me every guy can’t relate to these lyrics at one point in his life: “She turns me on baby, every night/And in the daytime too/I’m flyin’ at her like an aeroplane/Like some clueless fool.”
No matter where he lives, Josh Rouse is sure to be counted on keeping his fans happy with new material. Subtitulo is basically an extension of the same unpretentious and infectious pop/rock Rouse brought us with 1972 and Nashville, all in the last 3 years. There’s no reason to believe he’s going to slow down, and there wouldn’t be a long line of people telling him to do so anyway.