Volume 95, Issue 61

Tuesday, January 22, 2002
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Universal appeal among the chaos of Mogadishu

Rare (Ad)dictions cleverly unified

Outside the Box

Doggone, Disney's films are carbon copy

Outside the Box

By Andrea Chiu
Gazette Staff

Josh Rouse

Home can be a physical place. Whether it be at your parents' house where everything you grew up with remains the same or the lake by your cottage where you spent your summers as a child.

Home can also be a state of mind – that feeling of safety you find in old friends and the familiar people who know you best.

Home is also the title of Josh Rouse's second solo album.

Rouse may not be a familiar name to most, but the album's relaxed optimism exudes a feeling very similar to the intimacy of late night conversations with a trusted friend.

Frequently described as "alt-country," Rouse verges more on the pop-rock side of things on Home, with a fuller sounding album created by warm arrangements involving cello, violin and subtle horns to complement the guitar riffs.

These musical combinations, although often outstanding, are not what makes this album the perfect soundtrack for your home. It is Rouse's pair of soothing voice and no-fuss lyrics that creates this atmosphere – a comfort zone of sympathetic charm.

Some may argue that the tracks are blurred together by the similar warm-textured songs, but it is precisely this album's consistency that makes Home, glow with reliability, without boring its listeners.

The understated emotion and quality of the album's production by Rouse and David Henry is perfectly demonstrated in the subtle opening track, "Laughter" and "100M Backstroke," accented by perfectly-timed, soft, tinkling piano keys.

Rouse usually sings with subdued passion, but adds more playful vocals with "umph" to poppier songs like "Hey Porcupine" and the even more radio-friendly, "Directions."

No matter what one's favourite track is, Home is suitable for almost any situation. It's not the type of album that goes well with a night of dancing at a club, but it's the perfect soundtrack for afterwards, in the privacy of your own room. Light some candles, lay in bed and listen.

Whether you're in a high or low point in your life, in love or out of love, Josh Rouse's music will find its way into your subconscious and, somehow, even if only after the first listen, make you a little warmer inside with that sense of familiarity where we all ultimately end our day – home.

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