‘This City Draws Maps’ is a heartbreakingly romantic record of acoustic lullabies and soft, hushed vocals that give you goose bumps all over and a serious case of the shivers. You can tell as soon as ‘The Sun Is on My Right’ starts floating from the speakers. It’s simple but not stupid, combining the voices of lyricist Jonny with those of Sophie, also responsible for the occasional interjection of trumpets.
London is imprinted all over this album, whether it be the London girls mentioned in ‘Anne Sexton’ or the entire song dedicated to ‘London Pleasures’. The Rosie Taylor Project don’t sound like your typical band from the capital but there’s an undercurrent to them that screams “We’re from East London!” at you. Which is odd, given that they’re actually from Leeds. Perhaps it’s the effortless poetry of the lyrics or the way they sound like the sun shining in the back streets of Whitechapel. Whatever it is, it’s something that can’t be overlooked.
The aforementioned ‘London Pleasures’ is the most different song on this long player, with a much busier sound which brings the trumpet to the fore rather than letting it linger in the background. Jolly and jovial, it’s a welcome break from the melancholy disposition of the rest of the album. When it’s over though, it’s back to the despondence with ‘A Few Words of Farewell’, the most heartbreaking of the lot. Quieter and simpler, the misery is intensified and is guaranteed to make you well up although the line “Why the devil did you leave this town?” will bring a wry smile to your lips.
Ending with the gorgeous ‘The Water’s Edge’, ‘This City Draws Maps’ finishes as it began; with a beautiful, halting sadness that will make those who hear it fall instantaneously in love with its creators. The Rosie Taylor Project add a charming glow to the fringes of the city skyline. Hopefully, soon they’ll be illuminating the whole sky.
Standout Track: A Few Words of Farewell