Emmy The Great - S ep - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Emmy The Great - S ep

by Alexis Somerville Rating:8 Release Date:2015-01-26

Emma-Lee Moss, recording under the name Emmy the Great, returns after four years with a four-track EP showcasing the progression of her sound. Still very much a singer-songwriter, Moss’ trademark lyrics are intact - poetic, evocative and self-aware. While her debut, First Love, featured pared-down songs accompanied by acoustic guitar, S expands on the developments made on previous album Virtue. On S, there are more layered sounds, synths and ethereal electric guitar. Her voice is, as ever, perfectly suited to the tracks - folky yet modern and youthful.

Geographically speaking, these songs span a large distance - with references to Soho, California, Japan and "somewhere on a hill in Cumbria". Opener ‘Swimming Pool’ builds slowly and atmospherically with immersive synths and guitars, bringing to mind its title in both the music and lyrics: “I reach out and touch you but you jump into your blue… swimming pool.” She addresses a “rich kid”, though it’s unclear whether this is a specific person or a reflection on the more general feeling of being on the outside looking in.

‘Social Halo’ is a simple folky lament on social anxiety and feelings of isolation among a friendship group. The dreamlike ‘Solar Panels’ is a synth-driven highlight, evoking large expanses of Californian countryside alongside abstract references to a relationship. It builds to several climaxes and is the closest thing to a power ballad Moss has released.

Final track ‘Somerset’ focuses on a relationship in a much less oblique manner, repeating the phrase “Please don’t get over me”. Echoing her own vocals, Moss sings about the things that can stick in the mind of someone going through a breakup: “F Scott Fitzgerald/ Tennessee Williams… all the greats/ on your reading list”.

Moss has been impressive from the start but these tracks further distance her from First Love’s sprightly ‘anti-folk’ stylings. It might only be an EP, but S displays the development of her sound with a wider variety of instrumentation, increasingly polished production and a maturity beyond that of her previous output. In the run-up to the release of her third album, this is a progression in an exciting direction.

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