Laura Groves – Radio Red

Fourteen years after her only album as Blue Roses, the Shipley singer-songwriter elegantly steps out under her own name

Album Review by Joe Goggins | 08 Aug 2023
  • Laura Groves – Radio Red
Album title: Radio Red
Artist: Laura Groves
Label: Bella Union
Release date: 11 Aug

Since announcing herself with a beautifully accomplished debut album in 2009 under the name Blue Roses, further releases from Laura Groves have felt like fleeting moments of clarity and connection in what has otherwise been a long period of static. Three EPs followed Blue Roses but only now is she finally releasing another full-length, one that fittingly is fascinated by communication and its mercurial nature – serendipitous encounters, sliding doors moments and the unstable quality of memory are all themes woven into Radio Red’s rich tapestry.

Musically, it feels as if Groves is re-announcing herself to the world with a pitch that falls somewhere between classic pop songwriting (Karen Carpenter; Christine McVie) and her more modern alt-pop contemporaries, including but not limited to Cate Le Bon and, crucially, her close collaborator, Bat for Lashes. What results is a collection of meticulously crafted pop songs, with Groves working from a spare instrumental palette, based subtly in synth, to produce thoughtful sonic meditations on love, friendship and the power of human connection. 

Her cleverly layered vocals do much of the heavy lifting, particularly on the atmospheric Sarah and the redemptive Make a Start, but even when she’s backed by Sampha on D 4 N and Good Intention. Often, artists return from long lay-offs between records sounding as if they’d been trapped in amber the whole time, but Radio Red bears all the hallmarks of a carefully constructed labour of love, one rendered all the more elegant by the glacial pace of its gestation.

Listen to: I’m Not Crying, Sarah, Silver Lining