Last week, with little warning, ROE announced the first part of her debut album would be out the very next day. A long time in the making but now being delivered in two parts That’s When The Panic Sets In marks an artist that’s evolving and finding a new voice.
We noted this fresh approach with the Derry artist’s last two singles, and the other four tracks that make up this wonderful first half show the same growth. A truly vibrant release, there’s rich contrast between ROE’s introspective anxieties and the colourful palette that she’s thrown across them. That’s When The Panic Sets In was recorded with Thomas McLaughlin / Attica Audio, alongside manager Liam Craig and members of her current band.
Opener ‘New Behaviours’ is a marked example, trumpets punctuating relationships woes and self healing. ‘I Can Change’ brings the tempo up further and drops ROE closer into a rock song with its driven guitars, its urgency matched by latest single ‘Scared of Being Lonely’. ‘One in a Million’ which closes this half of her debut is a fitting end, even though it may only mark the whole album’s halfway point. Introduced by ROE’s vulnerable vocals and simple keys, but like the album itself it brings in a joyful colour. There’s string parts, trumpets and beautiful backing vocals that lift her inner thoughts into something bigger, and relatable.
“Every now and then I lie awake at night feeling guilty about something that happened 5 years ago, or thinking about what I should have said instead of what actually came out of my mouth. This song is about an irrational need to please everyone and the gut-wrenching anxiety I get from being human. At 1am inside a supermarket in Reykjavik in 2019, a decision was made to postpone my debut album. Part I of ‘That’s When The Panic Sets In’ is the first glimpse of the artist I became after that conversation. These songs are a documentary of my inner most thoughts and insecurities over the past couple years. It feels like a lot to hand them off to the world, but there’s also some kind of huge relief in that: like this is who I am and what I’m capable of.“
Following the release, ROE announced a couple of German shows. There’s no doubt there will be further plans to come this year alongside debut album part 2.