This week’s feature: Miss Emily Brown February 2, 2010
Miss Emily Brown, In Technicolour (Self-released)WHO
Vancouver Island folkie songstress.
IN A NUTSHELL
In Technicolour is a gorgeous, adventurous masterpiece.
I’d be lying if I said I had any kind of expectations for In Technicolour, the new album from Miss Emily Brown. After all, even though I apparently loved her last outing, Part of You Pours Out Of Me, I can’t honestly remember a thing about it. I don’t doubt that I really liked it when I heard it, but over the ensuing seven months or so, it’s gotten lost in a deluge of constant new music.
I don’t see In Technicolour suffering the same fate. Or, at the very least, I really hope that it doesn’t, because it’s an exceptional album.
What makes it so exceptional is Brown’s knack for jumping from style to style in a way that sounds totally natural. Take, just as an example, the album’s first two tracks, “Septuagesima” and “The Diary of Amy Briggs”. The former is downtempo electronic pop, reminiscent of acts like Frou Frou or a slightly louder version of Portishead. The latter is straightforwardly old school folk music — essentially “Septuagesima”‘s diametric opposite. Yet Brown is so talented (and both songs are so good) that you don’t even notice what could, in lesser hands, be a jarring contrast.
It’s this seamless contrast and consistent quality that defines the album. Regardless of whether Brown is singing along with a music box (on the album’s best track, the haunting “To Make Love Stay“), showing off her jazzy side (the title track) or hinting at a Bjork influence (“Ten Years Older”), she’s consistently able to go wherever her artistic muse takes her, and sound incredible in the process. I suppose that could be the album’s downside — that it all seems to flow together into one exceptionally good song, making it difficult to turn it off at any point other than the end.
Of course, as flaws go, that’s one that most artists would kill for. But it’s about the only thing I can find wrong with In Technicolour— which, really, means that Miss Emily Brown has come out with one heck of a sophomore album.