Folk-indie songwriter Rosie Carney is unleashing a very ambitious quarantine project next month: a full cover of Radiohead’s 1995 album The Bends. She already wowed with the lead single, “Bones”, and returns today with two more offerings: her versions of “Just” and “Black Star”. She has a particular affinity for the latter, saying:
“One of my favourite things about this song is the non-sugar coated realness of it. It’s very bleak and sad when you start to realise a relationship is on its way out. I feel like everyone has been in that situation where you just kind of aimlessly fill your day with crap to distract yourself from thinking about someone (even though you are the whole time). Throughout the record I tried to keep as many songs in their original key as possible, but when I started learning Black Star, I wanted it to feel like I was almost talking in the verses, so I purposely lowered it to the point it was nearly uncomfortable for me to sing. The words are so direct and bleak and honest I didn’t want to risk them going unheard.”
Indeed, she does bring a special presence to her version of “Black Star”, her rendition really emphasising the exhaustion of the narrator, as her voice sounds wearier and more aged than we’ve ever heard it. The chorus still sweeps as magnificently as the original, although in this more sparse arrangement, with just gentle guitar and strings, it sounds more profoundly hopeless and lonesome.
Her version of “Just” hollows out the track, but doesn’t lose any of its menace, as she casts her voice against a macabre synth backdrop. It’s the first time we’ve heard Carney go this bleak – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, she has just as much presence in this shade too.
Both new releases re-affirm the belief that this is an extremely impressive project from the young singer, and the whole of her version of The Bends is practically certain to be an early festive treat.
Look out for Rosie Carney’s take on The Bends come December 11 via Color Study (pre-order).