Rose Elinor Dougall & Joseph Coward: The Shacklewell Arms – live reviewPic of Rose Elinor Dougall by Simon Sarin

Rose Elinor Dougall & Joseph Coward

The Shacklewell Arms

August 14th 2013‏

Last week Louder Than War popped down The Shacklewell Arms to catch Joseph Coward & the woman who has now very nearly reached the position where we can stop referring to her as “she who used to be in The Pipettes” & can be known simply as “the wonderful Rose Elinor Dougall”. 

It’s nearly September and already these boys (and it is all mostly boys) who I’ve harped on about for the past few months have all gone and got proper haircuts, proper jobs, quit smoking and geared themselves up for adulthood. They’ve took heed of earlier warnings about the fickle people around these parts who are ready to jump onto the next bandwagon and call this old look suddenly obsolete. These boys have finally called it quits, sold their guitars and taken up I.T. Bought real shoes and ……or have they? …er …no they haven’t.

(Cue wobbly screen and a flashback to yours truly chewing gum and staring at nothing out of the French windows as the rain lashes down and bounces off the concrete patio……)

They’re all here this evening ..all those people in those bands who have at one time or another over the past few months mounted a stage and entertained us enough to get mentioned by myself in Louder Than War and had their music ignored whilst their hair, pointy shoes, caterpillar moustaches, smoking habits and echo boxes have been brought to the forefront as though this is the sort of stuff that matters and not their musical abilities. How many pubs are there in the UK where, if you got everyone in attendance to drop into a bucket something they’ve creatively achieved in the past twelve months could quite easily fill it with dozens of very decent albums? Albums that may not have even been release yet but albums that you may all get to hear at some stage during the coming few months. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not since the days of the Camden Falcon back in the late ’80s early ’90’s has the capital bought together so many people from so many decent bands all under one roof smoking fags and drinking ale.

Tonight is slightly different though.

Tonight we’re back to watching what our parents would have called “proper bands” with “proper songs ” that aren’t too loud and full of echo. It’s a time for the boys to sit at the back and flick their fingers through their hair as Rose Elinor Dougal does what she’s been doing for some time now and delight us with songs that we’ve never heard before but can’t wait to hear again once we exit the building and run amongst the busy late night traffic and onto the late train back to our beds.

We begin the evening, once again. in the company of Joseph Coward- the lightweight runner up boxing participant at the “not so very popular anymore” venue in Shoreditch recently and we watch intriguingly as he thumbles through a set of tunes that one day will shine so bright that you’ll probably begin to wonder why it’s taking this long to appear in our headphones. We’re reminded of the very early days of the “Smashing Pumpkins”, bits of those REM tunes that didn’t get released as singles that most of us have now forgotten about and we can still hear the slight comparative tones of that man from “The Smiths” on his new single “Children’s Bones”. He owns a few tunes already that once played to death with a little more gusto and confidence may attract a few who will claim these songs to be their favourites. Tunes that a lot of bands should be envious of but tunes that we still think need a forty date non stop tour of drinking establishments around the country to finally reach their destination. The Shakelwell arms, very much like many other small venues in the UK is a good starting point for artists like this and it appears he’s getting onto the tail end of one or two shows now that are interesting enough people to put their fags out and enter the rooms he performs in to keep abreast of his activities.


Then we get Rose ……

Gone are the people known as “The Distractions” that helped with her fabulous debut album “Without Why” and in come another four people who individually contribute to make up a collection of songs that have us swooning with delight and removing the earplugs that have been compulsory fashion items when walking through these doors recently.

Rose Elenor Dougal has a voice like an angel.

Rose Elenor Dougal has some fab songs.

Rose Elenor Dougal has a grandfather who used to read us the news on the BBC.

Rose Elenor Dougal has bloody good “Etch-a-Sketch” skills, a brother who sings in local favourites “Toy”, sang on some stuff for Mark Ronson and was our favourite member of “The Pipettes”.

That list was compiled in order of importance

There’s not too much that deviates from the sound of her debut album back in 2010 but in today’s musical climate, and in front of today’s participants on our CD players and Louder Than War blogs, she shines and gives us a well deserved rest and relaxing experience that we’ve been craving for a while now. Nothing too flash. Nothing screamy, no guitar solos or head shaking hair head banging moments, but a set of songs that remind us a little of those French tones that “Stereolab” were so fond of during the 1990’s or the 1980 one hit wonders “The Passions”.

Every song sounds crystal clear, not too long and a reminder that some of us are getting a bit old now and collecting soundtracks to listen to before our Sunday morning walks in the countryside. We get a few clap along tunes and the occasional hand on hip pose and the occasional glance up from under her long fringe. There’s talk of a new album out soon, a new album that we expect will not be too dissimilar to her first. We get none of the old favourites tonight like “Start / Stop / Synchro” or “Find Me Out” which is a shame for us kids expecting everyone to throw all the “hits” at us every time we make our presence felt on such occasions, however this was yet another one of East London’s free nights out.

No big secret, just another cool gig featuring our favourite bands and no pre arranged payment necessary.

Money saved for the purchase of the new album then I reckon.

Can’t wait.


Joseph Coward’s website is here. He can also be found on Facebook.

Rose Elinor Dougall is on Facebook & Twitter.

All words by Keith Goldhangar. More writing by Keith can be found at his author’s archive.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the 90's as a frontman with London noisemerchants HEADBUTT - spent the 80's in "Peel favourites" BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - drinks real ale, takes photo's has made a few short films. Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


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