Subtítulo reflects Rouse’s shift to Spain; following his artist girlfriend Paz Suay to Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. Musically, Rouse describes it as a “nylon string guitar and voice album” while Suay contributes charming backing vocals on ‘The Man Who…’. Clocking in at a mere ten tracks and thirty three minutes, Subtítulo does feel slight; even the thematically darker tracks like ‘Givin’ It Up’ and ‘El Otro Lado’ go down relatively easily musically, while the happier tracks like the incandescent ‘It Looks Like Love’ and the Fender Rhodes groove of ‘His Majesty Rides’ are bathed in sunlight.
The only thing that separates ‘It Looks Like Love’ from being a slick soft rock hit from mid-1970’s AM radio are the snidely provocative lyrics. Similarly, the opener ‘Quiet Town’, sounds like Rouse really is channelling David Gates, and the string drenched ‘Wonderful’ also mines retro soft rock. ‘Givin’ It Up’ and ‘His Majesty Rides’ lay down sunny grooves, even when the subject is Rouse’s alcoholism in the former.
Subtítulo feels lightweight with its short length and sunny feel, but it’s another high class collection of songs.