Emmy the Great – S (Album Review)

emmythegreatsep edited 1 - Emmy the Great - S (Album Review)

Emmy the Great – S (Album Review)

Emmy3 - Emmy the Great - S (Album Review)

If the latest release of Emmy the Great is to be regarded as an indicator of what her current music direction is, then the already familiar should realize that this EP S is collectively a more laid-back, ambient, and sparse-sounding affair yet still carried the Indie Folk sensibilities of its predecessors. This description owes to the fact that the songs in S, albeit still sounding Indie and Folk-like, have slower tempos and had used string orchestration as the foundation of the songs’ structures with the usual vibrato-flavored guitars as the carrier of the melodies.

Emmy the Great is actually the moniker of Emma-Lee Moss, a London-based solo artist who was born in Hong Kong in 1984 to an English father and a Chinese mother. She was raised in Hong Kong until the age of twelve, when her family settled back in England. Her career properly began in 2006, with the release of her first single, “Secret Circus.” She eventually released her debut full-length album, entitled First Love, in 2009. The songs here (particularly, the waltzy “Absentee,” the playful “The Easter Parade,” and the fast Country-influenced “Bad Things Coming, We Are Safe”) are rich in Indie Pop’s melodic characteristics—think of Camera Obscura. The others (“We Almost Had a Baby” and “On the Museum Island”) are reminiscent of the introspective acoustic approach of singer-songwriters like Bic Runga (“Sway”), Faye Wong (“Eyes on Me”), Utada Hikaru (“First Love”), and Julie Delpy (particularly “A Waltz for a Night” and Delpy’s other songs in her and Ethan Hawke’s 2004 film Before Sunset). This was followed by 2011’s Virtue, which contains Emmy the Great’s more upbeat and driving songs, such as “Iris” and “Sylvia.” Then, in January 2015, as an obvious teaser for what her fans and would-be fans can expect from her next full-length album, Emmy the Great releases the EP S.

S consists of four songs, each of whose title starts with the letter ‘S.’ It opens with the slow and sparse ballad “Swimming Pool”—which, because of the orchestral synth drench and buried-in-the-mix backup choral voices, gives off a vibe of Enigma (“Mea Culpa” and “Return to Innocence”). Following next is “Social Halo,” another beautiful ballad carried by vibrato-tinged guitar plucks, subtle angular guitar strums, and the heartfelt vocal rendition of the singer’s seeming penchant for distance and coldness, as expressed in the lyrics: “Oh no, everything’s moving so close… / I like you when you’re so cold….”

“Solar Panels” is the album’s highlight—upbeat, tribal, mildly Grunge-sounding, and has that Rave and Trance danceability. Finally, “Somerset” is a perfect closer—slow, somber, literarily sweet, and lyrically sublime; dropping names of classic authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, and W. Somerset Maugham.

“Please don’t get over me…,” Emmy the Great’s last words in her latest work. With her beautiful music and lyrics, anyone would certainly not get over the name Emmy the Great after listening to S, and this will surely inspire the listener to look forward to the next album and, in the meantime, to revisit her previous works. CrypticRock gives Emmy the Great’s S 4 out of 5 stars.

Emmy The Great S EP - Emmy the Great - S (Album Review)

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature.In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music.As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics.aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015.In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology.In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it.aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

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