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emerson kole - EP Review: Haunted

01 Nov 2023 // A review by Danica Bryant

Cleverly releasing her spooky EP Haunted on Friday 13th of October, emerson kole's new five-track collection proves how well-thought-out her artistry and sound is, with a dark alternative pop sound soaked in reverb and creepy production.

Haunted invokes the feeling of walking alone at night, hoping like hell you'll make it home safe. Cake centres around gorey imagery of ripping a heart out to "eat it like cake", a powerful introduction to the fierce character of emerson kole as a persona of songwriter Erin Myers. Boy You Better Run opts for a grungier sound, combining kole's saccharine, light vocal with a cyclical electric guitar riff, the perfect soundtrack to a 90's B-grade horror movie. This track is the most dynamic of the bunch, building to a vengeful chorus that paints kole as a fearsome villainess. 

The upbeat 80s-esque drums and sharp guitars of 6 Feet Deep offer a nice tonal shift amidst the slower-paced tracks. Its punchy pre-chorus offers up rhythmic one liners, visualising kole trying to escape a coffin, rotting with worms and other unsightly creatures taking over her body. However, the danger of lurking in this dark pop genre is often that the muted melodies can lose some of the thrill that pop often calls for.

So, it's exciting to see a more literal take on the fear-focused lyricism with ballad Medicine. Here, kole depicts the struggle of trying to help a partner fight off mental "demons". Alongside closing track Haunted, kole's whispered delivery on this song feels reminiscent of Billie Eilish, but with a more accented, emotional spin. By this point, some of the lyrical content surrounding paranormal activity and emotional ghosts becomes somewhat repetitive. But the final track's creative use of thick distorted AutoTune, as well as gritty screams buried in Ben Malone's eerie production, offers up some interest. It's in moments like these when Kole leans into the weirdness that she shines the brightest.

With an impressive commitment to theme and cohesion, Haunted is a unique collection on Aotearoa soils. emerson kole's gloomy sound and sickly-sweet vocal style makes her work highly atmospheric and evocative. Next time you're looking to satisfy the need for something deliciously unsettling, this EP should be your local go-to.

 

About emerson kole

What do you get when you pair pop melodies with dark instrumentation? You get the young and talented emerson kole. emerson is a 21-year-old singer/songwriter born in Florida, USA, who currently lives in Kirikiriroa, New Zealand. Her sound is deliciously grim and she is always experimenting with new ideas. She enjoys creating songs under the genres of pop, indie, punk, and rock. emerson’s musical influences include Melanie Martinez, The Neighbourhood, Yungblud, and Radiohead. She released her popular single Bad Reception under her previous artist name (Erin Myers) on October 7, 2022.

emerson’s love of music was always there, but she didn’t start creating music until the age of 15. emerson has played two shows at the Hamilton Fringe Festival in November of 2019, one of the performances being her first headlining gig. She also opened for NZ artist Danica Bryant on her Ego Death Tour in Hamilton. emerson studied a Bachelor of Commercial Music in Wellington, where she was able to learn useful music industry skills, as well as learning to collaborate with other artists and bands.

With writing, production, & mixing support from Ben Malone, emerson’s new delightfully dark EP Haunted is now out in the world.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for emerson kole

Releases

Haunted
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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