Alt-Folk chanteuse returns with new EP and new sound
I’ve always felt sorry for Emma-Lee Moss (AKA Emmy the Great). Her songs are chocked full of melancholy and laments about past loves. Her debut First Love, as the title gave away, was chocked songs about a break up with a past love. Given that the album was largely acoustic and lo-fi sounding meant that these songs took on a more personal feeling. Virtue Moss’ second album was more of the same, but the songs were fleshed out a bit more. Yet again there were songs of lost love. When I heard she was releasing a new EP I hoped that she was faring better with relationships since I last heard her. Sadly, it turns out she isn’t, which is great for us.
S is her first collection of songs since 2012’s God of Loneliness. The first thing that strikes you about this EP is that Moss has changed her sound quite dramatically. Gone are the scratchy acoustic guitars, and in their place we find luscious synths, looped samples and repetitive beats.
Opening track Swimming Pool typifies this new style. The music, as the title implies, there is a liquefied feel to it. Due to the production, it sound like you are listening to the music underwater. The juxtaposition between this murky sounding music and Moss’ crisp and clear vocals is one of the most beautiful and exciting tracks of the year so far. At times it sounds like Kate Bush, re-imagining Brian Eno’s Deep Blue Day. Social Halo shows that Moss has not lost her skill of being able to tell a story and keep it entertaining as well as touching. This is classic Emmy the Great!
The third track however is when things start to go a bit pear shaped. Solar Panels is about Moss’ time in America and at the Coachella festival. At first everything starts off as the previous two tracks have. There is catchy guitar riff, repetitive beat and synth/piano samples under Moss’ clear vocals. Then when the chorus comes in, it suddenly starts to swerve into a trance track. Given how the track started, this sudden 90 degree turn takes you by surprise and is quite jarring. The rest of the track follows this pattern. Sadly this track doesn’t work that well and this trance inclusion disrupts the flow of the previous two tracks. Last track Somerset (I Can’t get Over) picks up musically where the second track ends. This is another lament about lost love. As the music grows more epic, so does Moss’ declarations of love and lonigng. It is a fitting way to end the EP.
This is the first collection of tracks Moss has released for her new home Bella Union so expectation was high. As usual Moss delivered a collection of tracks that not only entertain, but captivate. It’s hard to know if this new sound will yield an album, or if this was an experiment? Either way the results show that Moss hasn’t lost her ability to perfectly tell a story in under four minutes and looks settled in her new label. This EP is post-pop at it’s best!