The release of Lucy Crisp’s EP 65 Roses is the culmination of a three-year project that sees the 18-minute project erupt with melancholia, euphoria and most of the in-between.
The title of Crisp’s EP is poignant. Crisp has the genetic condition Cystic Fibrosis. It informs much of 65 Roses, which, as well as an outright musical expression, is a way for Crisp to highlight the importance of change regarding the attitudes of many towards those with hidden disabilities and mental adversities.
The album’s title is a phrase used by children to help pronounce the genetic condition. With this name weaving Cystic Fibrosis into the fabric of the EP’s being, it makes the spoken-worD interlude ‘Normal Life’ so impactful.
The monologue sees Crisp talk about how her life ‘is not normal, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to treat me differently.’ Defiant, she talks of how she’ll ‘continue to ‘feel happiness amongst the dark clouds that surround me’, and that ‘music is my escapism’.
The hopeful honesty is emotive and brilliantly executed. The way Crisp talks about adversity on ‘Normal Life’ could be applied to other adversities, which is emblematic of one of Crisp’s strengths – her ability to communicate deeply personal moments in a way that is intimately relatable to anyone.
This goes for the EP’s opener ‘One Summer’s Day’, a breezy and nostalgic ‘80s-style pop anthem. The ‘80s are where the heart of 65 Roses may lie, but Crisp has a way of sounding up-to-date across all 18-minutes.
There’s the resolute ‘I Deserve Better’, a post breakup song to an ex-friend. The chorus sees Crisp’s vocals soar to her higher register, where she sings with a gutsy resolve. She’s consistently backed by a pulsating rhythm section that gives much of the album a clear forward motion. It’s this sense of progression that gives hopefulness to 65 Roses.
Already released as a single, ‘Locked Down’ took that forward motion to a post-lockdown reality. Crisp shielded during the pandemic, essentially extending her lockdown experience, comparative to the experience of others. But her assurance that she’ll one day leave this town and her jubilant cry of ‘nothing’s gonna stop me’ is moving.
The way 65 Roses fluctuates in mood makes each emotion all-the-more impactful. ‘Call Me’ is Crisp’s message to a friend, asking them to reach out regarding their mental health. It’s yet another example of Crisp taking on difficult topics and doing it smartly and tenderly, backed by cinematic strings that only heighten the intensity of Crisp’s vocals.
Closing the EP is ‘I Miss You’, a sobering song for all who’ve lost someone to Cystic Fibrosis, while functioning as a tribute to Claire Wineland, the Cystic Fibrosis activist that inspired much of what Lucy Crisp does.
In the build-up to the EP’s release, Crisp spoke about how she ‘hopes the songs allow those who listen to feel comfortably vulnerable and encourages them to open up about how they feel, disability or no disability.’ Her success in doing so means 65 Roses is more than just emotional, it is an important and moving series of songs.