After spending the better part of a year touring behind his critically acclaimed eleventh album, The Embers Of Time, Josh Rouse was ready for a change. Trading in his acoustic guitar for a synthesizer, he began experimenting with a new sonic palette, one inspired by everything from 80's sophistipop and late-career Leonard Cohen to British indie rock and New York new wave. The resulting record, Love In The Modern Age, is an infectious collection that still bears Rouse's distinct fingerprints, even as it pushes his limits and forges a bold new chapter more than twenty years into his celebrated career.
While many of Rouse's previous albums were recorded with a full band performing live in one room, the tracks on Love In The Modern Age were built up a layer at a time, with Rouse playing most of the instruments himself between studios in Spain and Nashville. The songs are cinematic and enveloping, each creating its own entrancing world out of dense synthesizer textures and shimmering electric guitar lines. On the ominous "Salton Sea," Rouse's smooth, warm vocals represent a distinctly human element awash in an ocean of manipulated tones, while the Tears For Fears-esque shuffle "Businessman" finds him capturing the loneliness of isolation in an era of constant connectivity, and the winsome title track charts the ups and downs of a relationship that can feel more digital than physical.
"I really wanted something different for this album," says Rouse. "I wanted to explore new sounds and write with a fresh backdrop. It's still my singing and my storytelling, but there's a big shift in the production, and using new instruments definitely brought out something in me that wouldn't have happened with just an acoustic guitar."