Florist‘s follow up to 2017’s critically acclaimed ‘If Blue Could Be Happiness’ comes not as a collective effort. Instead, it’s an intimate statement, entirely written, recorded and produced by Emily Sprague. ‘Emily Alone’ is a little gem of indie-folk. It embraces elements of the production typical of the Brooklyn-based band, as well as the introspection of the artist’s lyricism and songwriting. We could describe the new LP as an Autumn tale of quiet solitude and research of the inner self and its own uniqueness. A journey the young songstress embarked a year ago when she moved from the East Coast to Los Angeles, living in isolation for months. California as an inspiration for happy songs? Not exactly, as Emily explained to Pitchfork in a recent interview. In fact, this album looks more like a dark collection of thoughts, in only apparent scattered order.
Kicking off with the delicate fingerpicking of ‘As Alone’, the record sets its tone from its very incipit. Emily’s fragility emerges through irregular patterns and guitar arpeggios. Articulate soundscapes and beautiful melodies make room for the deep introspection of the lyrics. Something that clearly surfaces in chapters like ‘I Also Have Eyes’ or the stunning ‘Ocean Arms’.
Shadow comes around sometimes‘Ocean Arms’
Lonely eyes, leave the porch light on
I can’t believe I’m real
When the ocean breaks, the wind comes near
And the wild only lasts as long as the hour feels
The record is soaked in life. Emily analyses her own concerns and fears, expressing the delicacy of a learning process in coping with harsh circumstances. From the end of a relationship to the loss of a janitor. However, rays of light suddenly come out of obscurity (‘Time Is a Dark Feeling’), and the album takes unexpected turns. The piano exercise in ‘M’ or the electric ‘Now’ are a couple of examples.
The dreamy and hypnotic progression or ‘Emily Alone’ culminates in a painfully beautiful closing track, ‘Today I’ll Have You Around’. The artist’s guitar is at the forefront for almost the entire length of the journey, corroborating the minimalistic production typical of Florist. And the result is a detached solo work, necessary to Emily to draw a line under which sits a new beginning for her life. Ultimately, ‘Emily Alone’ is an exquisite record, written and performed by one of the most interesting voices of the American indie scene these days.
Double Double Whammy | 2019