Rosie and the Bees: Music review

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Music is the second single from Rosie Henshaw’s (just Rosie, to you) forthcoming debut album and follows closely in the funky, sunny footsteps of the first, with an a cappella introductory vocal that states happy truth: music is an axis which the world revolves around. Well, acappella, if you discount Buddy Siolo assertively laying down the beat and a few licks of guitar from Banel Martinez. The production (by Andro Martinez) is as clean, clear, crisp and elemental as Rosie’s rosy view of the world.
With a thousand people dead after the South Sudanese bloodbath of recent days, to name but one global conflict, it’s not only replenishing, but vital, to be reminded of what’s possible, with a change of outlook. It’s not, as some might self-righteously argue, denial, but a wholehearted attempt to live by positive example. And, as with music, ‘you don’t have to practice, you just open up your mind’. Easy to say. Difficult to do. But a challenge worth rising to.
Written by Rosie, Byron Mark & Banel Martinez (who, if you add Buddy boy, form, appropriately enough, The Bees) the song sports a bunch of old school funk sounds, or at least echoes of such, and a bunch of new ones, too. Rosie’s vocals aren’t entirely focussed on the lyrics: she has a style which sometimes sacrifices a few words here and there to musicality, but it’s precious little to pay for her stylistic imprint. She plays (among numerous other instruments) a mean electric bass, too. Better yet, she’s not prone to showing off for its own sake She keeps it simple, which is entirely in keeping with her message. Likewise, Banel Martinez’ rhythm guitar, with its light, jingle-jangly chords. Byron Mark’s largely percussive keyboard effects tend to be the hero on this one: swishes, hisses, swirls, pulsations, blips and high-pitched whistles populate the atmosphere while Rosie waxes, raps and espouses her homespun, tuned-in, turned-on philosophy. There are hints of reggae and the Indian heritage in which Rosie was steeped from an early age.
Little sister Olympia has directed, filmed and edited another outdoorsy video, which puts Sydney’s privileged oceanic position front-and-centre. There’s Rosie, on a classic, sun-drenched, blue skied spring day (or what looks like it), soaking it up, amid daffodils and tall green grass, radiating all that good energy right backache, from a clifftop, replete with panoramic view. Bangles, head and armbands, Cleopatra necklaces and oversized rings bejewel her petite frame; her hair, scarves, skirts and harem pants billow in the breeze while she practises a kind of choreographic yoga and cartwheels across the hilltop like the irrepressibly happy soul she gives every sign of being. And there she is, plugging her headphones into the nearest tree, flower, or rock face, tuning into nature, vibrating harmonically. It’s everything the music suggests. A breath of fresh air. There’s even a full-on kaleidoscopic sequence worthy of sixties psychedelia. All you need do is ‘let that music cloak you in a warm blanket of peace’.

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