Read the full Flipside review here:
“What does strike you is DeRosa’s capable crooning. Sounding not unlike a teen-idol and writing like a stalwart, this man is equal parts Neil Hannon, Richard Hawley, Scott Walker (the ’60s version), Bobby Darin and DeRosa himself…”
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Read the full Happening review here:
“In essence, A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes is a beautiful collision between the dark dreaminess of Echo & The Bunnymen, and the orchestrated pop ballads of the 50s and early 60s, polished off with some natty 40s vocal styling – all of which has influenced 33-year-old DeRosa down the years. Mostly sombre in tone, the album also reveals flashes of pop perfection, such as opener ‘Birds of Brooklyn’, which manages to walk the wobbly line between being instantly agreeable yet understated enough to avoid a sugary aftertaste.”
Excerpted below, read the full review here:
“Jon DeRosa’s latest album A Wolf in Preacher’s Clothes is sort of the missing link between Jarvis Cocker and Leonard Cohen…This one finds him alternating between dark, lushly crooned, Scott Walker-inflected chamber pop and more minimalist, postpunk-tinged, distantly creepy rock. Violinist Claudia Chopek’s string arrangements – also featuring Julia Kent on cello – are to die for, a rich, velvety chocolate truffle for the ears. Overhead, DeRosa’s nuanced, cat-ate-the-canary baritone lingers, sometimes ominous, sometimes with more than a hint of rakishness. And he paints a hell of a picture…”
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Limited edition vinyl still available: Mother West Records
CD available on Rocket Girl Records via Darla Records in the US / Rough Trade in the UK
For updates and performance schedule: Jon DeRosa on Facebook and Twitter.
Read the full review here:
A strong strain of pop classicism and a certain quantity of melancholy runs through this record. DeRosa’s deep, resonant voice reminds you first of Scott Walker and Richard Hawley but it’s not fanciful to go further back, to singers like Sinatra and Tony Bennett, especially when you hear DeRosa on his versions of the Blue Nile ’s ‘Easter Parade’ or the LD Beghtol song ‘Who Decides?’ The literate chamber pop – ‘True Men’ references Robert Mitchum and William Holden and is the source of the album’s title – puts you in mind of Stephin Merritt’s work while the orchestration is well-sourced, featuring a host of players including cellist Julia Kent from Antony & the Johnsons and Jon Natchez on trumpet. It’s a far cry from DeRosa’s ambient-pop project Aarktica.
Wolf… resurrects classic pop tropes, avoiding cliché or parody; ‘Say Goodnight’ is a lovesong with an unsalacious twist while ‘Teenage Goths’ is an insistent showtune despite the quirky title. But the standout song is the opening track; ‘Birds of Brooklyn’ is like the 60s as interpreted by Echo and the Bunnymen, accompanied by strings and brass, comfortably straddling the decades so that it sounds both classically old and glisteningly new. As a taster for the record, fans of the Magnetic Fields, Richard Hawley and late 60s Scott Walker (Scotts 3 and 4) should make a date to hear it.
As if praise from Jack Rabid at Big Takeover last week wasn’t enough, this week the great Tim Hinley (of the beloved and long-running Dagger) gives A Wolf… 9 out of 10 stars. Check out the full review below or at Blurt Online here.
A Wolf In Preacher’s Clothes
I recently had told a friend, who knows DeRosa, that the guy looks like Danzig, to which my pal laughed and said he needed to tell him (he also referred to him as “a real solid dude, a great guy”). As it turns out, DeRosa was born in Lodi, NJ, where Danzig began The Misfits, but was raised in the Jersey Shore town of Manasquan (being a Jersey Shore guy myself, Ocean City, N.J., I surfed there once). I had heard DeRosa’s more ambient project, Aarktica, and wasn’t completely impressed (also, Pale Horse and Rider, another one of his musical projects) but upon hearing his Anchor ep from last year, I spotted some serious talent – also good taste, as he covered The Chills’ “Submarine Bells” – which leads me to believe that I should revisit some of those Aarktica records. One thing is for sure: DeRosa needs to release more records under his own name. So far he’s batting .1000!
On the opening cut, “Birds of Brooklyn” you’re immediately struck by the smoothness of his deep voice; think Scott Walker, Leonard Cohen and, to a certain extent, Nick Cave. The intriguing melody and swooping orchestration bring home a winner. Same with the stunning “True Men” in which DeRosa namechecks both Robert Mitchum and William Holden amidst a swirling backdrop of crying strings. “Teenage Goths” kicks the tempo up into 3rd gear with a choppy, start/stop cut that melds into a dancing melody (same with “Who Decides?”), while “Easter Parade” gives it the neatly-trimmed tag of chamber-pop with DeRosa’s croon in full effect. And on “Ladies in Love,” well, there won’t be a dry eye in the house by the song’s end.
If anyone’s listening, this will end up on several best of 2012 lists – including my own. – Tim Hinley/Blurt