Rose of the West – Rose of the WestRelease Date: April 5th, 2018
Sequestered in the desert of Western Australia, the vibrant, red flowers of Eucalyptus macrocarpa stand out against the harsh landscape. The rare tree, nicknamed “rose of the west,” manages to prevail over the severe climate, opening its beauty to those who seek it.
It’s with this image that Gina Barrington (vocals, guitar) found solace and inspiration for her project Rose of the West. After five years of false-starts, the contemplative pop outfit has solidified its lineup and will make its debut this spring. Barrington grew up in a musical household, as her grandfather was an orchestra director. She would begrudgingly sit in front of a piano for hours, longing to tinker around and write her own music, and above all work her way through her grandfather’s instrument hierarchy to earn her first guitar. And while the guitar was never reached, this foundation is what helped Barrington find her way back to music amidst life’s tribulations.
After a six-year stint in Los Angeles, Barrington felt Milwaukee calling her home, and her writing began to truly take hold. After releasing a solo EP, Barrington formed Nightgown in 2014, but interpersonal issues permeated the group, and she was left to reinvent. From its ashes came Rose of the West, a dark, dream-pop five-piece. Barrington’s lush sound is bolstered by the musical backgrounds her band members have brought to Rose of the West: Cedric LeMoyne (Remy Zero, Alanis Morissette), Thomas Gilbert (GGOOLLDD), Erin Wolf (Hello Death) and Dave Power (The Staves).
The album’s lead single, “Roads,” is a volatile display of the long journey Barrington had to embark on to arrive at Rose of the West. Barrington’s gritty vocals softly-yet-sternly navigate temperamental layers of synth and guitar, ultimately resolving atop an oscillating bassline.
“‘Roads’ is really about duality: feeling torn, lost, overwhelmed and scared about, yet enthralled with, the possibles in life,” Barrington says. “It’s one of the songs that’s been with me longest, and the first one that came together during the making of the album which pointed it, and the band, in its ultimate direction.”
The lead up to Rose of the West has been lengthy and turbulent, but Rose of the West is ready to share its sprawling debut. Despite the harsh conditions presented to Barrington, she pressed on and has found her voice with Rose of the West, crafting emotive indie-pop.
"about as dreamy as it gets … hints of mellow Siouxsie and the Banshees a la “Return” with the emotional depth of Kate Bush. A lot of that aura lends itself to their lead singer, Gina Barrington. As she performs, she exudes an organic mysteriousness as she croons the lyrics."− Blurred Culture
Rose of the West – Rose of the West
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Rose of the West Single – Love Lies BleedingRelease Date: March 22, 2019
“This song was born while walking through a plant nursery, in a very heavy-hearted conversation with a close friend, when she called my attention to it, and it so perfectly captured the moment, and I declared it would become the subject of my next song…it’s about how we so often live in denial, not stopping to open our eyes to what is starring us in the face, and we continue the same dangerous pattern until something happens and we finally see our own heartbreak…. then we start to understand what love is, or isn’t.”
– Gina Barrington
Rose of the West single – Love Lies Bleeding
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Rose of the West Single – RoadsRelease Date: February 8, 2019
Rose of the West loosely threads dark and brooding strands throughout its music to bind its temperate-but-temperamental style of pop. The result is a beautifully structured, soft-blooming, Technicolor Lynchian dreamscape with just the right amount of spark among the dark shadows to catch the eye. Are you awake or still sleeping? Are these thoughts your own or are they driven by the characters who populate your dreams?
Those hazy musical currents are strongly driven by frosty synths, radiant warmth from guitar and piano, nimble bass lines and a tempestuous, gutsy kick from clear-cut percussion. Rose of the West leader, Gina Barrington, brings it all together with her crystalline-but-sultry vocals, twisting and turning lyrics over like talismans; and no matter how dark, Barrington’s most desolate words always seem to hold the possibility of turning those single sparks into bright flames
Rose of the West single – Roads
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Rose of the West 7-inch – Hunter’s Will / Love & WarRelease Date: August 29, 2017
Milwaukee’s Rose of the West creates cinematic and dreamy synth-pop with a dark side, juxtaposing both cool and warm atmospherics, lead by Gina Barrington’s otherworldly vocals.
Barrington’s knack for storytelling on the band’s debut singles – “Hunters Will” and “Love & War” – lends depth to those cool and warm sounds where nothing is as it seems, creating a listening experience that is pleasantly unsettling and alluring.