2018 hasn’t exactly been a big year for singer/songwriters nor acoustic music, but Roses and Cigarettes’ new extended play Roses and Cigarettes: Acoustic Sessions offers a handful of original folk treasures that satisfy any acoustic music fan’s needs just fine. For those who aren’t familiar with them, Roses and Cigarettes have been quietly building up a nice reputation around the indie underground since their eponymous debut, and their latest release gives fans a chance to witness their sound at its most humble and simplistic. You don’t have to be a die hard follower to appreciate the level of craftsmanship the band put into this EP. From the moment that the furious strumming of “Another Way” penetrates through our speakers and into our consciousness, we’re invited to follow Roses and Cigarettes into the heart and soul of their creativity.
Extended plays, like albums, are just as susceptible to becoming riddled with filler and atrocious fragments of underdeveloped songs, but Acoustic Sessions is surprisingly tight and focused through its six tracks. “Feel the Fire” in particular stood out to me as one of the more radio-ready tunes on the release, and it isn’t solely because of its squeaky clean production value. The cool thing about “Feel the Fire” is that it’s essentially a summer jam that plays just as smoothly on a long autumn walk as it does on a beach somewhere under a blanket of stars. It’s emotionally evocative but it’s also got a sweet hook that makes it endearing to the pop crowd and fans of more streamlined alternative country music. It doesn’t overpower “Shelter” or “Whiskey Down,” but it also could fit in on a college rock mixtape just as well as it does on this EP, which I consider to be a positive checkmark in Roses and Cigarettes’ artistic column.
If you live for indie pop that flirts with country and folk music without shame, Roses and Cigarettes: Acoustic Sessions is a great record to play this fall as the colors of the season start to set in and the chime of an acoustic guitar can become all the more radiant. I’ve always believed that all contemporary artists, from rappers to rockstars, have a folk musician living within them somewhere, even if it is buried beneath a lot of surface level theatrics, scene politics or personal ethics. Roses and Cigarettes tap directly into their inner troubadours on this EP; is it a fun listening experience for folkies and alt-country kids alike.