On “Every Bad Dream,” the final track of Rose Of The West‘s breathtaking sophomore album No Things Permanent, singer-songwriter Gina Barrington rattles off a litany of wounds and secret triumphs. “Every little upset, every little turn / Every single mistake, every minor burn,” she half-sings, half-whispers. “Every little reflex, every punch you throw / Every heart you break, no one has to know.” It’s a deliriously wonderful song, comforting in its structure but cool and caustic in its content. As such, it’s a perfect summation of No Things Permanent.
Rose Of The West released its eponymous debut record in 2019; that same year, one of the songs from that record, “Roads,” found its way onto the Netflix series Impulse. (A previous single, “Hunter’s Will,” was featured in the Netflix series You.) The current lineup of the moody Milwaukee project—Barrington, synth player Thomas Gilbert, drummer Dave Power—has yet to score a Netflix needle drop with No Things, though it seems like it’s only a matter of time.
Dark, perfectly crafted dream-pop bangers and goth-y synth swooners are the order of the day here. The fantastic “Hardcore” is as mysterious and evocative as a forest in autumn; “Come And Find Me” runs through that same forest at dusk and pays unlikely homage to Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin while doing so. “Kiss In The Dark” shows off Barrington’s arresting voice with lines like “Last kiss in the dark, the last kiss from me / You know you fucked up my heart.” The gorgeous “Feast Or Famine” is arguably the album’s highlight, a song that swells and exhales and seems on the verge of taking physical form and floating off into the atmosphere.
That feeling of physical manifestation sums up the record, too: nothing (or “no thing”) is permanent, though some things can’t help but hang around. Rose Of The West’s new album lingers in the air like an autumn chill, a ghost, a dream.