The opening low-tone guitar chords and strings of The Breaking Down set off a spark of intrigue that has your attention totally fixated, and that sensation only builds and builds as they progress right up to the jarringly abrupt end. Following that, they move straight into Mothers, which has a bit more of a poppy pulse but without losing that sweet atmospheric touch established before, and Jill’s elegant harmonies are a key factor in that.
The most recent single Black Dog is next, featuring a stupendously infectious chorus, and both the singing and instrumental performances reach a new peak here. Kneading elicits a smile between its delightful folk-style writing, a bright and bubbly melody fused from the riffs and accordions, and an altogether chipper rhythm, and those good times merrily roll on with the similarly snappy Beekeeper.
The title track mostly returns to the hauntingly lush and mysterious vibes that came at the beginning, and Jill’s voice shines with a strong sense of serious sincerity, with that focus and sensitivity continually present in The Robin and Dog-Eared Rose, both also defined by an extra raw power radiating from the guitars and drumming.
Walls is the most bustling of the bunch yet, and then the dial is flipped for hands down the most beautiful and tragically topical number of the entire record, Anti-War Lullaby.
This Rock is undoubtedly Jill Lorean’s grandest achievement to date, with the Glasgow artist immersing herself in a variety of styles in order to successfully convey the captivating themes of her songs, which incidentally rank at a high standard from wire to wire.