It’s been twelve months since Emma Stevens released her debut album Enchanted. She’s back with Waves, a collection that cements her position as a leading exponent of intelligent pop with a set of songs that burrow into your sub- conscience and have you tapping your feet and nodding your head and singing along.
The pop gloss of the production of Waves, much more so than Enchanted before it, might lead it to be lazily dismissed as slightly throwaway. Scratch beneath of the surface of the record though and you’ll discover a set of songs, without exception, that are beautifully simple in their execution, but meticulously constructed. Emma’s voice is, of course, the centerpiece of the record and it’s a joy, in a world where musicians can take themselves way too seriously, to listen to someone who actually sounds like they’re enjoying what they’re doing.
In parts, the songs betray the darker content of the lyrics – the death of Emma’s mother and biggest supporter understandably still resonates and there’s a mix of relationship emotions running through the record. There's the on-off are we or aren’t we relationship concerns of Nothing Serious contrasting with the sheer joy of falling in love of Gold Rush and Anywhere and the longing for a loved one of Amaretto Kisses. There's also the slightly bitter aftertaste of Make My Day and the feeling of loss of Helium and reflection of closer Walking, where Emma reflects on "walking direction unknown, strange to be on my own."
Waves is a story about life and love wrapped in a comfort blanket of melody and huge hooks in every song. Even the sad songs feel like some sort of catharsis as the record exudes positivity in the way all great pop music does.
Waves is out now on cd and download.
Emma's official website can be found here and she is on Twitter and Facebook.
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