[Release date 27.05.16]
The PR blurb accompanying this eponymous solo release would lead you to believe that the Hull-born singer songwriter has arrived at this point through gigging and experience in Nashville.
But there’s a little more depth to the story. From a young age King was set on being a country singer and in 2006 while studying at the British Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) in Brighton formed Emma King And The Heartsets. With an independently released album under their belt, they signed with an American label a new version of their debut, with re-recorded vocals, heralding their move across the pond in 2009.
There’s little evidence on the web of how that adventure went apart from several singles and plenty of gigging, but 2015 finds King back on home soil with this independently produced solo release. So it’s probably safe to assume that despite a lot of legwork, the venture just didn’t work out.
A bubbly blonde, King certainly has the requisite character and vocal ability and one can only assume she perhaps just wasn’t in the right place at the right time. And in contrast to her country cravings, her solo debut has a strong pop element to it.
The opener ‘Devil City’ is Sheryl Crow territory complete with horns, doo-wop backing vocals and bluesy guitar lines. What’s not to like? ‘All The Fools’ and ‘Now We Get Away’ are ’60s soul crooners, there’s a Chic funk element to ‘Lost In Time’, and ‘You Lie Awake’ has a Tom Petty construction.
It’s perfect for Radio 2 playlisting, but whether it’s strong enough to stand out from the rest of the retro crowd, only time will tell. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
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