2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Dark and Brooding,
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.