Emma Ruth Rundle: Some Heavy Ocean
(Sargent House, 5/20/14)
Emma Ruth Rundle has an extensive musical pedigree. With Red Sparowes, The Nocturnes, and Marriages, she has a proven mastery of captivating guitar and ghostly, seductive vocals. Now, on debut solo record Some Heavy Ocean, she dips a toe into folk, a genre she shadows with a darkness all her own.
The title track opens the album, and it’s an unconventional choice—more so once one hears the incomprehensible, swirling vocals, unsettling and beautiful at once. Indeed, “unsettling” and “beautiful” are words that spring to mind throughout the album, from the minimalist strums and breathy singing of “Your Card the Sun” to the simple acoustic guitar that backs the joyful rage of “Savage Saint.” It’s impossible not to tap your foot to the tragic love story that is “Run Forever,” while closer “Living With the Black Dog” relishes its doom-like aesthetic that brings to mind the heavy art of cellist Helen Money.
Rundle has said that there’s no unifying story, no single theme, that runs through this album. There’s no story but her own, soaked in the simplicity that a guitar can bring. It’s a story worth hearing.