Rough Trade - 2002 - 46 minutes

Rose's debut 'Shine Like it Does', warmed up many a critic's winter last year, but while the mini album announced the arrival of a compelling solo talent, listening back, some of the songs seem over-wrought and in need of different production. Now comes her first long player, a major step up in terms of scope and delivery which shows just how well she's spent the past 12 months.

Rose excels when she's deep in the downbeat and her husky tones give 'Long Shot...' its share of jet black gems: the title track has a spacy, funereal feel, 'Good Man' looks at love as habit with a melody that would make Neil Young proud and 'For Marlene' jangles its way through the story of a real life murder.

The are two moments however, where she lets herself down with 'Snake's cod rockabilly having no space alongside such intense tracks and 'Wheels Gone By' sounding like country by rote. And while album closer 'Big Dog' is similarly upbeat, its gospel-flavoured travelogue is far more complex and well thought out than either of its crowd pleasing soulmates.

Still two bad songs out of an attention span affirming ten is no bad innings and promises much for album number two. Rose may not be the finished article yet, but on 'Long Shot Novena' she answers most of her own prayers.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Long Shot Novena - See How I Need You - Good Man - Snake - Wheels Going By - White Dove's Awake - Two in One - Tom Waits Crooning – For Marlene - Big Dog