If Kate Bush or Emiliana Torrini came from German folk roots.
One of the great things about discovering artists early on is that over their formative years, you get to enjoy hearing them develop their own style and get comfortable with it. For Emaline Delapaix this is less about finding her style but on ‘With Every Beat’, her new album, it feels like she is celebrating her style. This is the most fully realised release of hers to date.
Emaline Delapaix places herself firmly in the witchy folk-pop genre and mixes acoustic instruments with a deceptively flexible vocal and she pulls from two distinct threads. The first is her German folk roots that often wouldn’t be out of place on a Faun or Omnia record. Here, on tracks like ‘Pops Jig’ and ‘Gone to See a Man About a Dog’, you’ll bask in lush harps and guitars. Fans of Linda Perhacs and cult acoustic psych-folk artists will love this edge. Forest and nature sounds gently embellish the album too.
The other side sees Emaline channel the strong artistic female solo musician. Tori Amos’ penchant for mysticism is here. Delapaix also has a high mind voice that channels Kate Bush. In tracks like ‘Monster’, her voice soars over the beats. Adding her chamber-pop nuances to a song primarily made up of traditional folk instruments is inspired because the whole album feels seeps in a timeless quality. It sounds equally fresh and primal. Where else would a banjo solo pop up in haunted waltz? The opening track ‘Turmoil of Winter’ perfectly encapsulates this sound and feeling of timelessness as cold piano and breezy vocals shroud around you like a warm cloak of warning. Elsewhere ‘On the Wind’ evokes natural calls of the wild over light shamanic percussion. It also showcases how potent the combination of both sides of Emaline’s music are. There are so many different instruments in use across the album it is a pleasure to guess what’s coming next. Yet it never feels like she’s gone full kitchen sink – it all makes perfect sense and keeps with the haunted folk theme throughout.
This all comes full circle with beautiful chamber ballads like ‘Seals Song’ and the creepy ‘Smoke and Light’. The latter leans on dark theatre and cabaret elements and that theatrical twist pops up throughout. It is easy to miss on the first listen but there are so many tiny production tricks and added sounds that give the listener a deeper narrative if they choose to go there. That’s the sign of a great record that is open for all. The beauty of the title track shines through with warm production and Happy Rhodes / Enya hybrid vocal layers. With all the new production values Emaline closes out with the simple but devastatingly haunting ‘Bend of the Trees’. Just an acoustic guitar and her crystalline voice – it enchants and entertains in equal measure. It could sit at home alongside Emiliana Torrini’s best and feels like a timeless classic.
‘With Every Beat’ is the musical coming of age of Emaline Delapaix. Jam-packed with gems and soaked in a warm whimsical reflection – it’s a joy from start to end. It’s the kind of album that will likely gain a cult online following ten years from now. Do yourself a favour and grab it now – you should be the one to tell everyone about it. Superb.
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