wears the trousers magazine

emmy the great: edward EP (first songs) (2009)
August 5, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: EP, review, video | Tags: , , ,


Emmy The Great
Edward EP (First Songs) ••••
Close Harbour

Coming so soon after her long awaited, but for some disappointing, debut album earlier this year, you’d be forgiven for thinking this EP of early material could be the result of Emma-Lee Moss scraping the barrel. However, the Edward EP (First Songs) is more of a thank you to the diehard fans who requested these previously unreleased songs on her recent UK tour. This is very much a fan-friendly release, with just 500 12” EPs being pressed, a handful even coming with a 16-page fictional tour diary penned by Miss The Great herself. Perhaps trying to justify what might be seen as a step backwards to those less acquainted with her back catalogue, Moss has leaned on a legend’s words of wisdom, saying “Siouxsie Sioux once said that when she sings her old songs she recognises that they were naïve, but she stands by them, and I feel the same way.” The songs on the Edward EP are certainly naïve and whimsical, but they have an immediacy lacking on much of First Love. Themes of loss and death run throughout its four tracks and help underpin her trademark humour nicely.

Opener ‘Edward Is Dedward’ is a one-way conversation with a friend who has committed suicide (“I never thought your threats would come good / You never did what you said you would”). It’s a frank monologue, with the singer confessing to fucking a friend (or her dad if you believe some song lyric websites!) in the dead boy’s bed, but it’s also heartfelt (“Until the time my body leaves / I will regret that you don’t breathe”). The lesser-known track ‘A Bowl Collecting Blood’ is perhaps one of the most musically interesting things Emmy has produced, side-stepping her tendency for underwhelming arrangements. It’s lyrically interesting too, describing a selfish lover consuming all that her partners have to give before throwing them “out in the cold like the hair coming off of a brush.”

‘Two Steps Forward’ continues the theme of loss, but this time it’s the departure of youth. Considering the song was written by someone who was still a teenager at the time, it manages to capture the nostalgia for simpler years perfectly (“The time’s already gone / when people were just people not the jobs that they perform / our songs were just a thing we did with melodies and chords / now you’re available in all good record stores”). Closer ‘Canopies & Drapes’ is a noticeable low point. Its stream of consciousness navel gazing can perhaps be forgiven when put into context, but the EP would be much stronger without it. Some juvenilia is best left to languish in forgotten chapbooks, and even fan pressure can’t excuse the decision to commit lines like “I feel worse than when S Club 7 broke up” and “Another routine episode of ‘Friends’ / what does it mean to be American? / Is it feelings, coffee and ‘I’ll Be There For You’?” to plastic.

Edward might have been intended as a fan-only release but it’s by and large a strong collection of songs that could easily attract new listeners too. Indeed, it’s a beacon of hope for those disappointed by the overworked sterility of the album. Talking about her experience recording the EP, Moss has said, “It brought back a lot of memories of when songwriting was done on a whim, and before anything got even remotely serious, and it’s brought a lot of joy back into my songwriting now.” Let’s hope this rekindled sense of freedom and immediacy helps make album number two the great LP Emmy is clearly capable of.

Richard Steele
UK release date: 03/08/09; www.myspace.com/emmythegreat


‘Edward Is Dedward’ [live]


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[…] Night [Dane Hodges 20/7] 12 Zola Jesus – The Spoils [Stephanie Heney 29/8] 13 Emmy The Great – Edward EP (First Songs) [Richard Steele 5/8] 14 Ebony Bones – Bone Of My Bones [Martyn Clayton, 9/7] 15 The Dead Weather […]

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