After her last few folk-pop ventures, Emma Louise shifts gears quite suddenly on her new record and changes the sound of her voice to mark this. With a sound and writing brilliance that really creates a sonic journey across the record, Louise makes an album that will haunt you as much as it makes you want to cry.
While the vocals that open the record on “Wish You Well” show dive into delivery styles and light effects to make Louise sound almost unrecognizable, the shock wears off quick with the emotional song writing. Her storytelling amidst strongly arranged piano pop make for a track that swoons at all the right moments. Even in the simple blues love song of “Falling Apart” Louise is able to use dynamics and her constant vocal warping to make something new out of it. By taking expected directions and blowing her way right through them, Louise hits hard on this track while making music that’s eccentric and fun.
The haunting new tones in Louise’s voice really flesh out the sound and feeling of concern on a track like “Just The Way I Am.” As the swing of guitars open into massive synths and harmonies, the track evolves into a whole new shape of track. Though it requires a little patience, “Never Making Plans Again” is a rare modern piano crooner classic, as it infuses the right kind of jazz improv to the song. It’ all of Louise’s strange production and layering of sounds however that make the track something of mesmerizing oddity that we can’t get enough of.
Louise gets upbeat and excited on “Gentleman” as children cheer behind her and she gets excited once again for love. With the constantly building energy and all the weird percussion and effects baked into the song’s main sound there’s something creepy but fun to the song. Just as you may start to feel like “Shadowman” is far to straightforward, the bubbling synths and grimy guitars shake up the song. It’s more than a sonic evolution however, as the latter half of the song follows less and less usual progressions and eventually explodes into a massive ethereal production.
After the score-like majesty of “Solitude,” Louise takes a meditative approach on “Mexico” with her synths and voice floating in the air calmly. Right as you feel that the song is perhaps going to run long, Louise breaks into a sprawling mix of drums and vocals that really kicks things into an unexpected and exhilarating finale. She does however stay in her moody folk on the ghostly tones of “A Book Left Open in a Wild Field Of Flowers” where her down-beat delivery has the track quite off-putting. Unfortunately “When It Comes To You” stays a lot more stagnant than other tracks on the record but does at least close things on a similarly dark and moody tone.
Words by Owen Maxwell