Sonic Bloom: Sub Rosa

By: Carolina Jones

For an album recorded in someone’s bedroom, this damn thing is beautiful.  Indie band Sub Rosa’s album Slings & Arrows is moody rock played expertly. Vocalist Jennifer Boeder must have angels sleeping in her throat.  Her vocals dip and glide over ‘White Flag’ and other tunes that merge and flow into each other.

This is the album you put on while you’re trying to get over that bastard that has ripped out your heart and left it bleeding on the floor.  The guitar in “Blue Pill’ and ‘Gary’ is haunting and driving, pulled together with passionate drums and the rich melancholy voice of Boeder.

Picture a female singer whose voice is alternately piercing and haunting, equal parts Beth Orton and Dolores O’Riordan, fronting a DIY indie rock outfit that combines the dark guitar washes of Interpol, the ethereal soundscapes of Doves, and the mournful acoustic stylings of Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. Picture all this and great pop songs too, and you’ve got Sub Rosa, a band that welds together strangely disparate elements from the indie pop pantheon to assemble a sound all their own. The Chicagoans’ first LP, Slings & Arrows, blends the best of atmospheric Britpop, sixties folk, and post-punk indie rock.

A former English teacher, Boeder writes about alienation and rebellion in an increasingly homogenized world, and the loneliness inherent in refusing to go along with the crowd. Her lyrics recall the dark introspection of Nico during her Chelsea Girl era, and add to the record’s subversive undertone. Multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer Jesse Hozeny made a name for himself as the explosive drummer for Chicago shoegaze band Tracer, whose influence is clearly felt on Slings & Arrows. The album is truly DIY–Hozeny recorded the entire album without once entering an actual recording studio, making it instead with a great deal of borrowed gear in his apartment, friends’ basements, and rehearsal spaces.

Sub Rosa is a band that seems destined to do big things; their lush, melancholy songs will stay with you long after you’ve shut the stereo off.

Now excuse me whilst I crawl under my covers and cry my pretty little heart out for some much-needed healing, with this CD to keep me company.

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