You know those Russian Matryoshka dolls? The ones that are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another?
Filipina indie singer Dey Rose’s debut album Evelyn (released this May 2023) is one such thing – music-wise to be exact.
For one, it’s a concept album. Evelyn consists of songs whose stories harken back to three decades ago when her father penned music as a paean to his wife or Dey Rose’s mother. It’s about falling in love, it’s about when life sets in after the love has gone, and it’s about moving on.
It’s bittersweet to be honest because at the end of the real-life story, both went their separate ways.
So on one hand, it’s like a diary or time capsule, on the other, it’s a sobering message that one has to work harder at relationships lest they fall by the wayside. And that isn’t the end of it. The album cover is the actual artwork her father rendered for his “songbook.”
While Dey Rose describes her music as a fusion of alternative rock, indie pop, and jazz, I think the 1970s pop sensibility is too blatant to ignore. I protest.
“Love Song” is 1970s Middle of the Road radio. It has that Leif Garrett vibe. The harmony — who does that today at least locally – is sweet.
The title track is a mellow Electric Light Orchestra while “Hurricane” and “Forever and a Day” drip with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ licks and song structures.
I guess you get it.
What makes the music even more heartfelt is Dey Rose’s father was a part of the recording process so maybe that is where that influence comes from.
And yet for all the influences, it’s a modern recording with Dey Rose’s voice – so distinct and perhaps with a rasp — having this lo-fi bedroom recording vibe. That makes it all the more apropos. That bedroom becomes that Fortress of Solitude.
From these moments of heartache and heartbreak come beautiful songs. One does pour their heart out and they are filled with emotion. And that sums up Dey Rose’s debut album – it’s a love cycle that takes you to the peak and ends down in the valley.
Isn’t it incredible that even the mother is aware of this album’s reason for existence?
Could this be a bridge to reconciliation?
At the end of the day, Dey Rose’s Evelyn – heartaches and all – offers hope. A message of hope that there is no smooth sailing because we simply have to work harder at things.
Dey Rose’s Evelyn is available on streaming in all digital devices and is distributed by Lilystars Records.