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8 Reviews
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AOTY??, 10 May 2011
By 
This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
The best album of the year so far! Harkening back to the glory days of the early/mid 90s alt-rock scene 'Past Life Martyred Saints' is anything but a throwback. There are flashes of Royal Trux, The Breeders, Nirvana's more bruised recordings, Kim Gordon, Cat Power circa Moon Pix, Patti Smith and more besides but Erika M Anderson is very much her own woman and these sometimes brittle sometime tough outpourings are always absorbing. The 1-2 knockout blows of opening two tracks 'Grey Ship' and 'California' should leave you in no doubt that it is gonna be a tough record to better this year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album at high volume, 12 July 2011
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This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
I heard a track on Last FM, checked the album out on Spotify, and read the Wolfs thorough review on Amazon. I have used his reviews in the past and found them to be excellent so I will not try to added anymore other than to say, I parted with my cash so that I could have the CD to listen to in the car, the only place I can turn the volume up, and I am not disappointed.

Check it out and I am sure you will agree.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkness Indivisible, 11 May 2011
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
EMA is Erika M. Anderson, compressed like a rough diamond
within the mould of her mournful muse. Let there be no mistake,
listening to 'Past Life Martyred Saints' is not a walk in the park.
It's dark and difficult and dangerous to know. It's also very good!
There are nine tracks in the collection and Ms Anderson allows us
little respite from her shadowy introspective self-reflections.

'California', a song suggestive, like so many before, of sunshine
and sand and orange juice is here reinvented as a stark industrial
nightmare; her voice emerging like a ghost from the grimy grey
textures of the piano/synth/percussion-based arrangement. With her
opening gambit of 'F*** Calfornia' you just know this isn't going
to be another fancy-free ride down the Pacific Coast Highway!

Opening track 'The Grey Ship' is hardly a barrel of laughs either
but its doleful melody and sand-blasted instrumental elements
make for a curiously affecting listening experience. The central
dirge-like section brought some of the great Peter Hammill's 70's
Bohemian excesses to mind. An exotic mixture of pleasure and pain.

The tiny acapella 'Coda', however, delivers a small glimpse of
ribald (but nonetheless black as night) humour in the gathering gloom.
Ms Anderson seems to be perfectly happy dancing at her own wake!

'Butterfly Knife' is a terrifyingly rough-and-ready invention which,
despite its folksy fugal vocal arrangement, blisters and burns to
the bone. This is un-easy listening of the very finest calibre!

Final track 'Red Star' slips and slides in and out of focus like
a dream. Against a slow, throbbing guitar/drum motif Ms Anderson
delivers what is probably her finest vocal performance in the set.
There is real power and passion at work here. A purifying fire.
(The spirit of Patti Smith was doubtless smiling in the wings!)

A single-minded and uncompromising journey to the heart of darkness.

Highly Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rated!, 18 Mar 2012
This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
Rated! i do recommend buying a physical copy just to rip at a decent sample rate.
lets hope the next album is just as good
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best album of 2011 so far, 30 Jun 2011
This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
What a début. Listening to this it's hard to believe that (1) it's a first full length (as a solo artist), (2) that Erika M Anderson is so young.

As other reviewers here have said, there's a very 90's feel to the music, but it doesn't sound dated. The more recent drone influences really bring the sound up to date. Comparisons to Kim Gordon, or Courtney Love are not out of place.

When it comes to the lyrics, this is a deeply dark album, dealing with a whole list of personal issues. From a lyrical perspective this record really reminds me of records such as Perfume Genius's Learning from last year, or Kristin Hersh's Hips & Makers. It's true heart on sleeve stuff.

Not a relaxing listen by any means, you can feel some of the scarring after listening, but is so worth repeated listens.

For me this is the best release of 2011 so far.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a negative imprint on your skin, 31 Oct 2011
By 
nigel "rouffet" (Ipswich, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
a great record - haunting energy - should win some awards. anyone who can come up with the line 'california you made me boring' should be monitored.
It's not an easy listen and it's stripped of sentiment. take your pulse. But a welcome invention that's endearing. 'I wish every time he touched me left a mark'
romance as dislocation yet post modern.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Brooding, 2 Jun 2011
By 
Syriat - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
Female raspy singer songwriters seem to be popular right now. EMA comes hot on the heels of Zola Jesus and others with her debut and immediately she let's you know that she has put her soul into this. Her voice is reminiscent of Kim Deal or Tanya Donnelly, her lyrics show real meaning and her arrangements are there to compliment the voice and are never quite what is promised in the opening bars. All of this makes every listen bring out something new.
The opening track, The Grey Ship, is a perfect example of this. Starting off with and acoustic guitar and a slow chant it develops into a real quite rocky number with horns and guitars working alongside the voice to deliver a heart felt plea before it quiets down. That track is seven minutes long, others are a lot less. Anteroom could be partnered with Nirvana's unplugged, such is the approach. Marked stops me in my tracks every time with just the lyrics. Here she sings 'I wish every time he touched me he left his mark.' You genuinely feel her obsession/love for the object here. Even if it might not be what it seems. The closer, Red Star, is a real throwback to albums where the closing track left you wanting more and slowed down proceedings to let the listener recover. Its a well sequenced piece this. I have mentioned grunge influences a bit here, it does sound like a toned down grunge effort at times but with more instrumentation and slower.

That this well end up on end of year best of lists is beyond doubt. You will struggle to find a better debut this year.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EMA, 20 Jun 2011
By 
D. Rundle "Talman" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Past Life Martyred Saints (Audio CD)
If it were possible I would give this album 10 stars it is simply stunning! There are influences from the great Patti Smith, a hint of Natasha Khan and Bats for Lashes and some similarities with Florence. This young lady has an incredible future in front of her if she continues to produce music of this quality. From the opening track Grey Ship to the final track Red Knife this album took my breath away absolutely amazing!
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Past Life Martyred Saints by EMA (Audio CD - 2011)
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