Monday, 2 June 2014

Album of the Week #24

Artist: Emma Ruth Rundle
Album: Some Heavy Ocean
Year: 2014

After leaving a tantalising glimpse of Emma Ruth Rundle's spectacular talents in last week's Midweek Mixtape, it's probably only fair that her stunning debut album comes under the one album a week-shaped spotlight today. Rundle has concocted a dreamy world of sounds in Some Heavy Ocean, taking the listener on an immersive journey through her folk-tinged set of psychedelic numbers. Recalling the spirit and sound of hometown L.A. and throwing in her own pop sensibilities to create a unique sound, it is a beguiling listen that sweeps and soars its way through 10 songs of pure beauty.

Although there are hints of 60s psychedelia, 70s folk and pop, it is the menacing atmosphere running through this work that sets it apart from its contemporaries. 'Haunted Houses' is atypical of the album as a whole, with its soft acoustic plucking the backbone behind sweeping strings and Rundle's haunting voice, which is honest, heartfelt and often seems to plead with the listener to join her on this journey - rather like fellow American Lana Del Rey.

'Arms I Know So Well' is the obvious entry point into the album and the perfect example of Rundle's eye for a pop melody underpinning the sea of ambient sounds that it accompanies. It reaches its glorious crescendo amidst barely-audible vocals and increasingly frantic guitar strumming, offering the perfect centrepoint of an album which is built around this song.

The reverb-heavy 'Living With The Black Dog', and is the furthest point at which Rundle extends her psychedelic tendencies, making it a compelling album closer that recalls female doom-pop merchant Anna Calvi and even Stevie Nicks' solo output. It may seem hyperbolic to compare 'Some Heavy Ocean' to such artists, but it is a fully deserved praise of an album that never fails to delight.

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