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Album Review: Emmy the Great – Second Love

2 min read

The thoroughly British Emmy The Great (aka Emma-Lee Moss) has just released her third full-length album, Second Love, the thematic follow-up to her appropriately titled debut First Love. Although having released an EP or two in the interim, as well as dabbling in soundtracking, Moss’s songwriting has remained largely the same between records. Second Love is a cute off-kilter album which aims to disarm the listener but ultimately comes off feeling slightly kitsch and too ambitious.

emmy the great second loveThe overwrought instrumental work of First Love has been swapped for sonic minimalism and snappy beats, but the themes remain largely the same: love, loss, heartache. If anything, there’s a bit too much reliance on the pared-back aesthetic on this album. From the drip-dropping rhythm of Less Than Three to the muted synth of Dance W Me, it’s hard not to itch for just a touch of deeper, thicker sound. There’s a certain stillness to the backing tracks which comes off as stilted rather than intentional, and more often than not the backing vocals are robotic, the staccato synths generic. Moss is clearly a skilful vocalist, and the potential of the album’s standout tracks is all too often marred by forced minimalism. Echoing album closer Lost In You, for example, is a simple, delicate piano composition underneath Moss’s soaring voice and a quiet clock-like beat in the background, which would be more effective were it not so simplistic and repetitive.

Moss has clearly found a songwriting formula that works, and has stuck with it, but that’s exactly what the album comes off as – formulaic. It’s a suite of cute, folky love songs which although technically pleasing leave little lasting impression.