Clash (magazine) - "[T]hese eleven tracks are truly made with the weight giving by Lowe's personal lyrics tackling 21st century femininity, friendship and the complexity of love."
It could be merely coincidental that Rosie Lowe's debut album is titled like the Janet Jackson classic. Lowe was born a few years after its 1986 release (and was raised in a wooden Devon, England house that lacked basic appliances). Going by the title track, control as a concept doesn't seem to carry quite as much weight for Lowe as it did for Jackson, who was asserting her individuality and creative power after years of enduring constrictions. It certainly falls in line with the other issues Lowe details here, such as the internal crisis that comes with choosing between independence and partnership -- a recurring theme. It's more likely that Lowe and her collaborators are indeed schooled on the '80s output of Jackson and other powerful women. The instrumental of "Control," a sparse and mechanically swinging cut made with Dave Okumu, sounds like smudged 1984-1986 Mtume, not far off from something created by Jackson facilitators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Additionally, there's a tune titled "Who's That Girl?," possibly a nod to Eurythmics, whose Annie Lennox seems to be an inspiration for Lowe's approach. Like Lennox, Lowe has a way of sounding coolly distanced and deeply emotive at once. Even if the singer is consciously inviting the comparisons and has often been likened to fellow Okumu associate Jessie Ware, the impression she makes here is distinct. Whether she and Okumu work alone or involve Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) or Jack Latham (Jam City), her assured, consoling qualities are constants, and she never overreaches, demonstrating restraint in every situation, whether she's "obsessing imperfections," delighting in her partner opening up to her, or on the brink of bailing from a relationship. A couple decent singles excepted, Control includes all of the tracks that preceded it, which date back to late 2013, but it's a steady, uniform set, all subtle yet stimulating ballads and downtempo grooves. ~ Andy Kellman