Emiliana Torrini reaches her third album which goes some way to bridging the vast gap of styles between the previous two. The lush electronic pop of “Love in the Time of Science” is the exact opposite of “Fisherman’s Womans” completely acoustic tones. “Me and Armini” takes the acoustic elements and embellishes them with more rockier riffs that almost harks back to some of her earlier work from Iceland only albums.
“Fireheads” shows the step on from Fisherman’s Woman with bass and electric acoustic guitars bleeding across the speakers to Torrini’s silky vocals. It’s very clear that this time round its a band effort. Maybe this makes the songs more catchy and upbeat especailly with the lovely chorus on offer with this track.
“Me and Armini” is brings in a little electronica but with it comes a ska beat! This kind of song is a completely new direction and works extremely well with the fast beats and slow vocals. You cannot help but tap your feet to the groove.
“Birds” follows as the acoustic number with delicate chords and even more delicate vocals. The chords give it a country albeit slightly clumsy feel but it still flows beautifully. Then gradually layers of instruments are built up upon until it has its final chorus. Nice.
“Heard It All Before” is another faster paced song with a definite ska influence too. Infused with slight eastern European flavours too this song is finger clicking and hand clapping good (just like the percussion). It’s great to see Emiliana break out into a real show stopping frenzy. I can see this being a create show closer.
“Ha Ha” is a darker number and is really the first darker number we’ve had this record. The chorus is inspired in juxtaposition to the music. This makes the excellent single “Big Jumps” work so well. The quirky lyrics matched with the acoustic poppy tones really make for a great sing-along to this anti anthem. “Big Jumps” deserves some serious radio play and would do well as a radio staple.
“Jungle Drum” will be the second single and that definitely figures. A frantic high speed mad scatting bop along – this is the most fun song I’ve heard in months and although it may not appeal to as many people as “Big Jumps”, this is my personal favourite and really sums up the album perfectly. A lady in her element crossing the genres and mastering them all. Fantastic.
“Hold Heart” is an acoustic song with a slight Parisian feel to it with Emiliana howling “No tears don’t you come out” to heart wrenching effect. The song is the shortest on the album and I wished it was longer.
This is followed by “Gun” which is probably the most alternative of the songs. Reminding me a little of The Sugar Cubes in terms of production, it features echoing bass guitars complete with all the background noises and lots of reverb to Emiliana’s voice. However the song is quite repetitive on face value however if you listen carefully it slowly twists up the atmosphere to something a little eerie.
“Beggar’s Prayer” is the slow downtrodden bluesy number which really works well in terms of ambience and the vocal prayer section is absolutely stunning and yet completely underplayed – which is really what makes it.
“Dead Duck” is the most electronic the album gets. Cutting various acoustic sounds together and mashing them over drums and keyboard sounds. There’s some abstract lyrics throughout and this really makes for a refreshing change. Those wanting more old style Torrini will find probably their favourite here. It reminds me a little of Sigur Ros but also of some of Imogen Heap’s early b-side works where the music constantly changes. An excellent instrumental.
“Bleeder” closes the album with a warm ballad full of strings, pianos and guitars.
So without a doubt this a tour de force. Emiliana touches on so many different acoustic genres and breezes through them with such ease and joy, you never know what’s coming next. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to an album that genuinely surprises me with where it goes next. What’s more is that there’s no weak link. An absolutely must buy.