Monday, 22 February 2016
New Music: Emma Pollock - Alabaster
Even the most ardent and knowledgeable music fan cannot keep up with every song and record released – it’s a physical impossibility. But thanks to the likes of streaming services it’s certainly possible to dip your toe into far more musical pools than it was ever possible to in the past. In 2016 it has never been easier for someone to educate themselves both in musical history and the current day. Never listened to The Beatles? Nirvana? Madonna? Then just open up Spotify or the like and dive right in. Type the album name on Google and read up on its history and gain some context. No idea who new artists like FKA Twigs, Lapsley or Young Fathers are, but heard their names? Well there's no need to spend all day trawling record shops trying to find out. Just press play straight away. It’s all just so beautifully easy. Maybe too easy?
It was in this simple way that I came across Emma Pollock’s new LP In Search of Harperfield. Having been a fan of The Delgados (Emma’s first band) and their albums Peloton and The Great Eastern, I took particular interest when I saw a number of tweets praising Emma’s new solo record, her first in five and a half years. Skipping the reviews (discuss: are music critics of any relevance or importance in today’s digital climate?) I went straight to Spotify and dived in to find a wonderful collection of music that is both immediate and immensely rewarding. Maybe that easiness is a good thing after all?
In Search of Harperfield was at least partly inspired by the decline and death of Emma’s mother after a long illness and sees Pollock connecting memories and joining the dots of her parents past. It’s a beautiful and often plaintive body of work and opening song Cannot Keep A Secret is probably one of the most assured and complete songs I’ve heard so far in 2016.
Whilst in terms of the internet and its rapid turnover the heading above of ‘New Music’ is probably somewhat incorrect. In Search of Harperfield has been out for nearly a month. Maybe it should have been 'New-ish music?' Yet the fact that most of the songs on Spotify have had less than 10,000 plays and Alabaster (another gem from a collection of them) has only just over 5,000 plays on Soundcloud, suggests that this body of work will still be very new to many people. It comes highly recommended, please take a listen. You can find it on Spotify using this link.
Emma Pollock - Alabaster