Emma Langford’s debut EP is a delightful collection of songs that perfectly showcases her warm vocals and her ability to switch effortlessly between styles.
The record starts with some ominous strings but soon segues into jaunty folk song “You Are Not Mine” which is about romantic independence; its a bright and confident opening track.
Next up “The Seduction of Eve” is a more traditional tune about betrayal and learning some harsh lessons about loving a little too easily. It features some beautiful whistle work from Karl Nesbitt which compliments the piano of Clint Fitzgerald and guitar work of Langford herself.
“Closed Book” is one of the strongest tracks on the EP and the obvious single to these ears recalling Wallis Bird's catchier moments and happens to be about musicians not bothering to try and connect to their audience (a bug bear of mine) which I feel is a brave subject for a singer to raise.
We’re in introspective ballad territory on “All You Want’ which in the wrong hands could have been a nothing track but here the high standard of production and musicianship on the EP is maintained with the layering of vocals, powerful bass and some delicious piano and whistle lines ensuring that you are totally enveloped in the song and its story.
The penultimate track “Tug O’War” is the song that first made me sit up and pay attention to Emma Langford when she released a very raw version of it on YouTube. I was not alone and it was the response to that video that encouraged Langford to move forward with this EP and I’m glad to see that she has kept the wonderful simplicity of that song intact here with only the merest of studio polish evident.
The EP closes with the lightest of the six tracks “Goodbye Hawaii” featuring seaside sounds and some very accomplished mouth trumpeting. It’s a clever track that wears it’s tongue firmly in its cheek (think Beautiful South at their acerbic poppy best), again the bass from Peter Hanagan comes to the fore along with some playful percussion from Nesbitt. It’s a great uptempo way to bring proceedings to a close.
All in all Emma Langford's debut EP is a very rewarding listen and marks her out as not just an excellent vocalist but a very clever lyricist too.
Emma Langford launches her self titled EP Upstairs in Dolans on Saturday, June 18th.