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Rox - Memoirs

Rox, Memoirs

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SOUTH London singer Rox is determined to re-establish British soul as a force to be reckoned with.

She goes some way to achieving that aim with debut album, Memoirs, which has been delivered at the ripe old age of 21.

But then Rox has never been one to wait around. Born Roxanne Tataei, she began singing at the age of five in the Church’s of South London and spent most of her school holidays touring with The National Youth Theatre.

Now, as she releases her debut album, she’s already earned rave reviews from the likes of The Guardian and The News of the World, and attracted some top talent to work with her.

Memoirs was co-written by Al Shux, who also helped pen Jay-Z’s ode to New York, Empire State of Mind, and is evidence on a very talented artist who is mature beyond her years.

Rox is blessed with a powerful set of vocals that can channel funky fun just as easily as powerful balladry. She’s arguably more enjoyable when keeping things light, but she’s equally adept at doing both.

Album opener No Going Back sounds like the kind of retro throwback that Mark Ronson might specialise in producing, and Amy Winehouse may have once found herself singing. It’s snappy, hip-swinging fun and means you’ll immediately be taken with her.

Admittedly, she slows down the pace straight away… as if to underline her diversity. Do As I Say is a soulful ballad that finds Rox in crooner style… singing to a lover how she doesn’t expect the world from him.

But in two songs, she’s channelled the memory and style of both Winehouse and Morcheeba’s Skye.

Elsewhere, there’s a similar mix of styles… some of which work better in pure enjoyment terms than others.

I Don’t Believe, for instance, is just swinging good Northern Soul infused fun that’ll get you grooving, My Baby Left Me an upbeat slice of pop that puts a breezy gloss on what is otherwise a break-up anthem, and Forever Always Wishing a slick slice of trip-hop infused soul balladry that really wouldn’t sound out of place on a Morcheeba concoction.

And then there’s the real album stunner… Precious Moments, which employs some stripped back percussion and a really drop-dead gorgeous bassline to bring out the most in her lovelorn vocals. It’s a heart-melter, a tear-jerker and the song that’s guaranteed to engraciate Rox into your heart forever.

In amongst such highlights, there is obviously the odd moment that fails to ignite or fire the imagination in quite the same way as Precious Moments… but Rox still continues to provide evidence of her unmistakeable talent – whether that’s over-cooked moments such as Sad Eyes, or more average filler material like Rocksteady.

She is a proper star… and her album is well worth becoming acquainted with.

Download picks: No Going Back, Precious Moments, My Baby Left Me, Forever Always Wishing, I Don’t Believe

Track listing:

  1. No Going Back
  2. Do As I Say
  3. Page Unfolds
  4. I Don’t Believe
  5. My Baby Left Me
  6. Forever Always Wishing
  7. Heart Ran Dry
  8. Breakfast in Bed
  9. Precious Moments
  10. Rocksteady
  11. Oh My
  12. Sad Eyes