EP review: EMMA KING – The Sun and The Blues

EMMA KING – The Sun and The Blues

Great British Songwriting Co. [Release date 26.07.19]

The notion of “authenticity” is a difficult tightrope to walk. Go too far one way and you come off as pretentious and rigid, a slave to the past, too far the other way and you risk looking like a fan aping your heroes but not adding anything new to the musical conversation. Thankfully the latest EP from Hull-born blues singer Emma King stands proudly alongside her forbearers while still feeling original.

Recorded in Tennessee, ‘The Sun and the Blues’ kicks off with mellow torch song, ‘All The Other Fools’, in which King coos over a honky-tonk piano and dreamy guitar. The atmosphere created, conjures up images of filmmaker David Lynch’s brand of Americana, like something off the soundtrack of Blue Velvet.

‘Rollin’ In’ is a story of hedonism, “I wake up in the morning light, waiting for the man to go”, and it’s a lively track with just a hint of darkness. The album has been recorded in full live takes, to analogue tape and there is real warmth to the recording. This stripped back, old school approach really allows for clear sound and the ability to pick out individual instruments.

The standout song is down and dirty jazz-inflected number, ‘Break The Mould’ that calls to mind Nikka Costa. Bringing in sleazy saxophone lines, chicken grease guitar and some filthy bass work, the track is propulsive fun and will likely make a great addition to Emma King’s future gigs.

Switching things up, EP closer ‘Wild Things’, is a short and sweet bluegrass number, that one could easily imagine Alison Krauss singing. With a marching drumbeat that builds to a hoedown finale, it is a great capper to a perfectly judged collection. The effort to stay analogue is always appreciated, especially if there are some cracking songs and musicianship to back it up. ****

Review by Phillip Beamon


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