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It is unusual to review a new album in the past tense, but by the time Sub Pop were set to release this self-titled, second album from the Seattle group Rose Windows, the band had called it a day. Just five weeks before the release date the group issued a dramatic, thoughtfully worded statement on their Facebook page announcing that "Rose Windows will no longer be moving forward."

Sadly, the history of the band is now a brief one. Main songwriter Chris Cheveyo began Rose Windows as a loose collective in 2010, starting work on their debut album The Sun Dogs a year or so later, with producer Randall Dunn at the helm. Dunn was a founding member of Master Musicians of Bukkake and producer of such luminaries as Sunn O))), Six Organs of Admittance, Earth and Boris, to name just a few.

Almost inevitably Rose Windows were lumped together with the psych-rock scene which was prevalent on the US West Coast then, though the band themselves seemed to be chasing something purer than the coat-tails of the latest musical movement. Their rock elements were fused with American blues and folk music, and they were just as likely to write riffs that drew on Western Saharan guitarists as well as, say, Black Sabbath.

This is true for the new album as well. Dunn has returned as a producer, although Rose Windows actually comes across as a straighter rock record than the debut, with some of the more meandering elements tempered and the songs coming across as tighter and more focused.

Lead single 'Glory Glory' illustrates this well, with its punchy, rocky chorus. The jewel in their crown was the stunning voice of Rabia Shaheen Qazi - perhaps familiar to some for her work on Earth's recent album Primitive and Deadly - and she steals the show to an extent here. She is developing her own powerful style, but her delivery is becoming more versatile and on songs such as closing track 'Hirami' she is stepping out of the shadow of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin, two vocalists to which she is frequently compared.

Having said that, those expecting her to take centre stage straight away will be surprised by the opening track 'Bodhi Song' which is a slow, meditative piece with a male vocal. There is a strong Buddhist element to this track, although overall the album seems less concerned with the pastoral and spiritual, and more willing to tackle grimy reality.

Take 'Strip Mall Babylon' for example, which sees Rabia asking "Was I born to lose my culture to Babel?" over a drifting melody carried by Veronica Dyes's flute, before launching into an anthemic chorus. The excellent 'Blind' offers some words of caution; "be as mad as you want to be, as long as your feet are on the ground."

As with 'Strip Mall Babylon', the band are at their most ambitious on the songs which take traditional rock somewhere else. 'The Old Crow' takes a standard blues figure and develops into something more expansive, and Aurora Avenue has a moodier, jazzier vocal with suitably atmospheric flute and guitar backing.

'Come Get Us Again' is an acoustic ballad which builds and builds, not a million miles from the early work of the Flaming Lips. 'A Pleasure to Burn' is even lovelier, with some delicate guitars drifting behind a more understated vocal.

Like many of the bands working within the world of psychedelic rock, it is easy to accuse Rose Windows of regurgitating the past. However, when classic influences - both rock and folk - meet a diverse bunch of musicians like this they get a new lease of life. One wise review of their debut album said that although the music sounds old, in a way it could only really be made in the here and now. The music is a melting pot which has grown more complex as the years have gone on.

No negativity should be read into the fact that they have called it a day before this album came out. They felt that they had run their course and wished to bow out on a high note. They have done exactly that.

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