An agglomeration of cerebral and elusive dazzle. That could be the label defining Emma Grace’s latest record, Wild Fruits and Red Cheeks, produced by Pipapop Records. An album released on the 26th of February that witnesses, once again, the author’s intimate plein air vocal painting , in a dense tracklist of eighteen songs, all liaised by convincing arrangements and distinctive songwriting.
The artwork cover by Giorgia Ragnacci honestly reflects the core of the project. An outburst of emotions that takes off with Animated, a Peter Gabriel-sounding fairytale, opaque and vague like only a memory afloat in a melody gyrating a suffuse atmosphere could be. The tension is lessened by the raw feeling of nostalgia, suspended in time. A sparkle anticipating the gloaming of Random precision, which is stretched tight, coarsened by icy strings made of an inscrutable, mysterious pangea of orchestral surprises, in a remarkable upsurge of tension.
On Top Of Our Words opens up like a surrealist riddle, a crafty mixture between a heavenly immaculate soundscape and a rippled scandinavian choir-ensemble. But then the triumphant voice spews some phenomenal songwriting, resembling the most mystical version of Alanis Morissette and the purest rendition of Beth Orton. Emma Grace is herself an ensemble of experiences: originally from Umbria, She lived in Paris for three years and then continued her music research in Venice, including therapy studies. At 22, she had already her first album out, Backgrounds, a blend of fervent compositions helped by electronic music, violin and voice.
Emma’s language is indeed cinematic: One Morning On Our Fields is a pictorial postcard from a vivid movie scene, a lush fragment of a pathos-filled gesture eying the camera. This tune is staring at our heart. It all reminds us of considerable composers such as Peter Broderick, Teho Teardo, Valgeir Sigurðsson.
In The Tree she sets a larger canvas of guitar motion, a blinking tribute to the best tunes of Laura Marling and Aldous Harding. The tune features a change in direction, this time less monumental and more straight to the point. But it a temporary break: Funny Nests is a vaporous, enchanting spell, overworked in its loops of really not pivotal appearance. It results to be excessively inward-looking, a withdrawn song that doesn’t want to obey to anyone’s liking. Same destiny falls upon Red Fruits, that conjures Medieval- inspired airspace to a kinetic conundrum where the line of thoughts is constantly spiraling against different, often antithetical stimuli. Sometimes it is just too much.
But the real grace of this long journey is its unpredictability. Sailor’s View is majestic in its openness, a wild yet sumptuous brushstroke of artistic freedom. In Love Song She finally caresses a potential pop tune standard alongside a posture that beckons to go ahead with the listening.
The best arrives when a balance between intimidating and repetitive chants and lyrical, touching tabs is achieved, although there is definitely no cherry-picking, not even when the composer throws her skill over a fluid piano strumming that delivers a much needed sense of tranquility (Morning Steps).
When Wild Fruits and Red Cheeks is not too tangled with all previous predecessors’ subconscious lures (Meredith Monk overall) It sparks fly with its attempt to set Emma’s talent qualitatively free and unique. Despite its incongruous turnarounds, It frequently travels within an inaccessible hiss, still managing – with a sophisticated class – to commune with our innermost parts.