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(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Album Review: Emmy the Great – S EP

 
By on Tuesday, 13th January 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

I’ve followed Emma-Lee Moss’ career with great interest upon hearing the beautifully heartbreaking single ‘We Almost Had a Baby’ from her debut album. Emmy the Great’s ‘First Love’ was released a good 5 years ago now and while both it and her 2011 LP follow-up ‘Virtue’ were released on Moss’ own label Close Harbour Records, her forthcoming EP ‘S’ this month will be released on Simon Raymonde’s celebrated Bella Union label.

It’s unclear whether her addition to the Bella Union roster has resulted in a permanent change in direction, but what is evident in the EP’s first single ‘Swimming Pool’ is her experimentation beyond the usual singer/songwriter-y sound with which Moss has made her name under the Emmy the Great moniker. ‘Swimming Pool’ is a breathy, diaphanous work that skirts the line between a choral hymn and dream pop, described well in the press sheet as “replete with rippling keys and dream laden bass”. If there’s a guitar in here, it’s hidden very well. Tom Fleming of Wild Beasts also makes a surprising and welcome vocal guest appearance on the single, shadowing Moss’ voice on the chorus. The guitar does return in ‘Social Halo’ but like in ‘Swimming Pool’, there is a dreamy, floating feeling throughout the song. Despite its theme of awkwardness in social situations, the track also feels vaguely Christmassy with glittering chimes, as if to take some of the edge off the anxiety.

Moss says the songwriting on this EP reflects looking outward to the outside world versus her own internal musings that inspired her first two albums: “My previous recordings were a reflection of my internal world, but this is a record of me trying to engage with the outside. Over the course of travelling and touring for the last two years I inhabited many cities and landscapes.” ‘Solar Panels’ is the most obvious example of this shift, as Moss’ lyrics seem oddly wooden against the backdrop of booming synthesisers, speaking of “Japanese / companies are making energy / from the heat in California”. Sonically, it’s very jarring to hear such a synthesised sound from Emmy the Great. It’s like, what’s next? Is Calvin Harris going to jump out from behind the mirage?

Thankfully, closing track ‘Somerset (I Can’t Get Over)’ brings it all back to more familiar territory. The sweet, lilting quality of Moss’ vocals, full of wistful emotion yet with characteristic Emmy the Great restraint, is front and centre here, even if there are a lonely percussive beat (a spoon?) and purposefully dreamy effects effects on the guitar line. The desire to hear an acknowledgment from her lover that she won’t be forgotten rings forlorn and true. Although I’m not a huge fan of this change in direction, this one song makes me hopeful Moss hasn’t given up everything we knew and loved about Emmy the Great. Let’s see how 2015 pans out for her, shall we?

7.5/10

‘S’, the forthcoming EP from singer/songwriter Emmy the Great, will be released next Monday, on the 26th of January, on Bella Union. She’ll be touring the UK later this month. It was also just announced on 13 January that Emmy will be showcasing at SXSW 2015 in Austin in March.

 

Emmy the Great / January 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Friday, 28th November 2014 at 9:00 am
 

Emmy the Great has announced a short list of early 2015 tour dates to support her new EP, ‘S’, which is due for release on the 26th of January on Bella Union. We recently posted the EP’s rather surprising lead track ‘Swimming Pool’ as our Video of a Moment on Tuesday. Tickets for the following shows are available now.

Thursday 22nd January 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Friday 23rd January 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Tuesday 27th January 2015 – London Oslo
Wednesday 28th January 2015 – Brighton Green Door Store

 

Video of the Moment #1688: Emmy the Great

 
By on Tuesday, 25th November 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

It’s been a while since we at TGTF have heard anything from Emmy the Great (aka Emma-Lee Moss), but she has recently dived back into the music scene with a new track called ‘Swimming Pool’. The track is slickly sultry, more heavily produced than Moss’s past work, and features the vocal talents of Wild Beasts‘ Tom Fleming to illustrate what is described in the caption to the accompanying video as “a hologram’s final interaction with its owner”.

‘Swimming Pool’ is the lead single from Emmy the Great‘s upcoming EP, titled simply ‘S’, due for release in January 2015 on Bella Union.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/JCa5lKjIMJU[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #803: Emmy the Great

 
By on Thursday, 24th May 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

Emmy the Great has self-described the mini-film / promo for ‘God of Loneliness’ as a ‘horror rom-com’ starring none other than Isy Suttie (Peep Show) and Shazad Latif (Spooks). Filmed in West London’s Trellick Tower by Chris Boyle, it’s a kooky, weird and altogether unsettling video that reminds me a bit of a scene out of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

If this is too eerie for you, read Martin’s review of the single here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx2sUd5vPmE[/youtube]

 

Single Review: Emmy the Great – God of Loneliness

 
By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Emmy The Great’s album ‘Virtue’ has been out for nearly a year now; she’s decided not enough people have heard it, so a deluxe version is on its way in order to tempt those who haven’t yet made a purchase. With the usual ‘deluxe’ trimmings, and more rare tracks and remixes, this is a release both for the Emmy completist, and for those who are just falling under the spell of the jewel-voiced Ms Moss for the first time.

To announce the new release, ‘God Of Loneliness’ is being released as a single. Given that the album documents a particularly sudden breakup, this song fits right in, documenting as it does a one-sided conversation between Emmy and her projected demons. Or in this case the demons are reimagined as a god, although a bittersweet one that appears on the death of a relationship, rather than an omnipotent being who looks after you in times of need. The instrumentation is gentle, and features sufficient melodic undulations and harp sweeps to make it quite a summery background ditty, if we ever get a summer in this glum, rainy country. As inoffensive as a chilled glass of sparkling rosé wine on a grassy slope, and possibly more of a ladies’ favourite; men might like something a bit chewier to go with their post-breakup blues.

B-side ‘Fade Into You’ is a cover of Mazzy Star’s most famous song, and adds just a bit more vim to the original. Whether or not the song needed more vim, or struck just the right languorous tone the first time around is not clear. What is clear is that the song is a lovely, dreamy waltz with distant guitars and deserves another hearing. Just the soundtrack if you’re sharing that glass of sparkling rosé with a special someone.

Intriguingly, the single is accompanied by a ‘horror rom-com’ short film set in Emmy’s favourite brutalist tower block, Erno Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower, which inspired a track on ‘Virtue’. As a connoisseur of brutalism, it’s great news every time an example pops up in pop culture. This particular building has led a charmed, media friendly existence, having appeared in several music videos including Blur’s ‘For Tomorrow’, and benefits from residing in the well-off Kensington and Chelsea borough of London. Certainly modernist, but due to the softening of its concrete expanses with numerous windows and walkways, maybe less brutal than impolite. Due to its location, fame, and listed status, Trellick Tower is to be spared the ignominy of demolition which is befalling so many of its contemporary brethren. The song gets an extra point for bringing up the topic of brutalism.

7/10

The deluxe version of ‘Virtue’ is out now. ‘God of Loneliness’ was released as a single last week (the 7th of May) on Close Harbour. Grab the Dems remix of the song on this previous MP3 of the Day post.

 

MP3 of the Day #528: Emmy the Great

 
By on Wednesday, 25th April 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Nothing like a little bit of sibling love. London band Dems features Emmy the Great‘s (Emma-Lee Moss) brother, so she gave us the heads-up on a remix of her forthcoming single ‘God of Loneliness’, out in May, that Dems did. Listen to and download the remix below.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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