21 Sep 2018
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Emily Fairlight - Album Review: Mother of Gloom

03 May 2018 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Autumn at dusk. Sitting in a bay window, knees to chin, wrapped in sweatered arms. Eyes to the fogged glass that obscures the wind and rain enveloping the grey city. Watching the streetlights flicker on as the sky dims.

Or a dingy, wood floored coffee shop, room the size of your lounge, the loneliest patron.

These are the best places to listen to Emily Fairlight’s Mother of Gloom.

I think haunting is a word thrown around all too quickly when reviewing soulful emotive voices. I think what people are trying to say is that the music, the voice, is ethereal. Dream-like. Draped in a dark, sombre mood they rarely feel to name.

I guess I mean all those things too when I describe Emily Fairlight’s voice as haunting, but I also mean it in the more literal term, in that it stuck with me, as my earworm, the ghost on my shoulder. I had to keep going back to it. Those lines from The Ancient Mariner, no doubt a popular refrain in live renditions.

Am I going soft in my old age?

Is this the point I decide to grow my beard, wear plaid, and listen to folk music? 

Have I found the comfort that waiting for Tool fails to provide?

Inappropriate (at any time, not just in this social climate) I know, but I’d have liked to approach Fairlight. In another life, as another person. The kind that approaches people and tells them they like their style.

That the new album is beautiful, though beautiful feels too bright a word to describe something so dark, and dark too pessimistic to describe the warmth I feel.

That they feel her melancholy and relate to it.  

Ask her if she’s okay, if only to see her smile, and reassure me it’s all just an act. A persona. Like Lana Del Ray’s fabricated emotion. So, I can know I'm still the only one that feels this way.

Why do I use Del Ray as a reference, when Fairlight is undeniably better?

There’s Del Ray in Fairlight’s voice, but there’s earlier influences like the vibrato of Stevie Nicks, and tone of Joan Baez. Unlike Del Ray the music is real, not electronic nonsense. A banjo, the strings, a horn. The strum like a slowed steam engine. With the occasional influences from old time French and Spanish there’s nostalgia, like Mother of Gloom is an artefact from the 60's.

Do we always covet the decades before us?

They call Mice on Stilts Doom-folk, or at least Mice on Stilts do, but there is still hope in their Hope for a Mourning. This is Doom-folk. A soundtrack for the forest around me on my long cold walk to work. No doubt the soundtrack for the long train rides across the countryside of Japan next week. A soundtrack for this Autumn dusk, in a bay window, my knees to chin, wrapped in sweatered arms.

Take my five stars. Give me back my ears, my angst, so I can feel discontent again, and not feel like this album is my home. My comfort. 


Review written by Peter-James Dries

 

About Emily Fairlight

Hailing from the mighty port town of Lyttelton, Emily Fairlight brings use mesmerizing folk music. Using story telling lyrics she invites you into her world and provides insights into religion, love, politics and relationships. Often playing solo with her rhythmic and hypnotizing guitar style, she will transport you and bring you back a better person.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Emily Fairlight

Releases

Mother of Gloom
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Emily Fairlight
Year: 2011
Type: Album

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