@theroseaffair/Instagram

Death of a Hero is reflective and revealing. Lucas Jones (lead singer) explained the premise to me in October, whilst it was being written:

In your youth, the idea of who you will be when you’re older is entirely conceptual and idealistic. The ‘death of a hero’ is the realisation that this ideal has not been fulfilled. You are no longer your own hero, instead dissatisfied. It is not entirely this cynical, or this simple. Whilst the idea may seem born out of an existentialist nightmare, it is how we deal with this fact. You experience multiple deaths in life, but from each you become a new version of yourself with a new beginning.

"In your youth, the idea of who you will be when you’re older is entirely conceptual and idealistic. The ‘death of a hero’ is the realisation that this ideal has not been fulfilled."

'Blush', the first single, opens the EP. It is electrifying; a looping guitar leads up to an explosive beginning. There is a sense of satirising the profound. Philosophical references are counter balanced with shallow postmodern phrases – “Plato was crying over candlelight reflective stone, for jokes.” The clever word play leads the listener to think the statements are profound, but we are rewarded with beautiful, hollow phrases. Struggles for purpose are acknowledged as universal - ‘I know the feeling’,they assure the listener. It marks a real progression in the bands output, sharing the energised qualities of their previous work, but demonstrating how far this has been developed. 

The second single, 'I Sleep In A Racing Car, Do You?', epitomises the concept of the band's project. An honest perspective on adulthood, it approaches topical anxieties of the self: masculinity, hypocrisy, fulfilment. Satirising the self has been a frequent theme in the band’s music, approached tenderly in Liars and Taurus. The song continues this legacy, but is more explicit and targeted at the self in its aim. It is very tongue in cheek, making reference to Jones’ acting career and his role in a Special K advert – “I saw you on the tele, selling cereal, thought that was pretty cool.” Being able to expose yourself in such a frank way ("You’re standing like a fucking child in the corner") shows a raw honesty from the singer.

"An honest perspective on adulthood, it approaches topical anxieties of the self"@theroseaffair/Instagram

'Paloma' demonstrates the bands’ ability to slow down. It is very delicate and steady. It feels invasive to attempt to decipher the meaning of this song. As with some art, it is better appreciated from a distance. The emotion rings through, particularly as it reaches the climax in its production - "How do you feel now? Dancing round a sundial?".

This mood is interrupted by 'Flowers'which sounds the most like their preceding work. The narrative wouldn’t seem out of place in a Sally Rooney novel, relationship driven with the distinctively post-modern content. The chorus is extremely catchy and fun, punchy in a similar way to 'Blush', but fits into a more generic indie. Listening to it for the first time made me feel nostalgic, and I feel it would have functioned effectively as the second single, due to its pace. It is, however, the track I have returned to and enjoyed the most.  


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'Ghosts' sedates the listener back into a lull, reinstating the floating sensation of 'Paloma'. Whilst initially this may seem repetitive, it impressively and unexpectedly builds after the second refrain of "Happy new life", a simplistic, yet skilfully bittersweet remark. This plays out into a progressive outro, where there is an emotional shift from a hollow bitterness to an intense and painful declaration. Whilst 'Blush' deals with the ability to distance the self from the existential, 'Ghosts' begins this way, before developing into frustration, giving a great feeling of presence against what was previously conceptual. 

The EP closes with 'If You Make It Out Alive' which begins a slow piano ballad. The lyrics are less ornamental than the rest of the EP, kept refreshingly stripped back. If you have followed the EP from start to finish, the simplicity is fantastically effective, "I just want my childhood back" ringing out a sentimental tenderness. The piano ballad is overlaid with impressive production, reminiscent of the interludes on The 1975’s second album. It is the most experimental and varied on the album, working as an effective and promising conclusion.

The band hail from the Cambridgeshire town of Huntingdon@theroseaffair/Instagram

To fully appreciate the EP and its concept, you must listen to it in its totality. Whilst the songs all function alone, holistically the impact is much greater. The music takes you trough an emotional arc, with variety offered by the order and content of tracks. Jones takes great inspiration from film, which is evidenced in his careful trace of emotion and atmosphere across the work.

"The album is an expansive ocean, meeting the horizon. It makes you feel small, insignificant, yet it is beautiful."

It rings with relevance in the post-modern climate, debating the philosophies of the self and how true they are to the way we live life. Whilst we may ponder over the existentialist approach, Death of a Hero suggests promise and revitalisation. The album is an expansive ocean, meeting the horizon. It makes you feel small, insignificant, yet it is beautiful. The balance of these feelings is essential. 

There are artists who touch you. They tap into something, reveal something. The Rose Affair are one of the few bands that consistently do this for me, for the four years I have followed their music. Between then and now, I have inevitably experienced many of these deaths of the self, yet in the inconsistency, I remain able to relate to the band. These feelings they express are universal.