Emily Gold – Recluse


Emily Gold’s career has been skyrocketing at an alarmingly quick rate. She has many plans in the works, including a tour, large distribution deals, and pushing her songs to TV and radio. Her debut EP made quite a splash and this first full-length album shows off her talents along with those of co-writer David Burris. It’s an interesting hybrid of sounds that owes much to 90s shoegaze (both English and American) with a garnish of grunge-rock, cold wave and other assorted genres that only real music detectives have bothered to sniff out over the years.

The meat of the material on this album is dressing up minimalism as a full, arena-sized sound and, in that respect, Emily and her cohorts do a fantastic job. Even when seemingly little is going on, there is an expansive range of aural techniques happening. The opener “Drowning” is dripping with reverbed and delayed guitars while the bass does a deathbed heartbeat similar to Red House Painters. Itai Shapira gets as much thickness as he can out of a few notes. There might be a soft bed of synths in the background, but it could just be the way Burris processes the guitar-work. One would have to ask the chef about his secret recipe. At the heart of the maelstrom, Emily Gold sings with an assertive yet soothing voice that drags you right into the album’s unusual world.

Burris stomps a mean fuzz pedal on the title track and gives the song a ticked off slant for Gold to splay her vocals upon. It never quite reaches full tilt, lying back in sort of a slocore mode while letting riffs and roughshod rhythms add a little sinew to the band’s skeletal song structures. “Cyanide Lollipop” features a sassy, smart-aleck smirk to Gold’s vocals and the instrumentals follow suit with choppy acoustic guitars, buoyant bass lines and Sean Draper’s locked-on drumming providing just enough to slam to push the music forward. “Love Moves” is all blue-eyed soul with Emily’s mightiest, bravest vocal performance on the album. She goes from the gut, almost growling out the lyrics like Tina Turner with far more grace and class as the rhythm section totally supervises the action here.

“Not from Here” is pure power pop; sugary and sweet, almost too sweet and “Out of Touch” only expands on that sweetness to the point of practically nagging for airplay. These aren’t particularly bad songs, but they lack some of the grit and gruel that gives Emily’s material its bravado. Luckily the dirt beneath the nails, hurdy gurdy comes back in force on cuts like “Shadow,” “Intangible,” “Retrofitting” and “For the Night”.

Recluse could have benefitted from a little more time on the cutting room floor but for the most part it’s a worthwhile listen with a lot of ideas to absorb. A few ideas go astray, but well over the majority of the album things really come together. Consider Emily Gold an artist to keep a close eye on in the future!

7 out of 10 stars.

Daniel Boyer