A cult heroine of Bristol’s underground music scene Emily Breeze is the former frontwoman of Psychedelic Post-Punk outfit Candy Darling. Her great uncle was legendary Irish rebel, writer (and drinker) Brendan Behan so her gift for storytelling might well be hereditary. Indeed, nonother than The Sunday Times labelled her “the lovechild of P.J Harvey and Johnny Cash”. Her new album `Rapture` is released this month and was written and recorded in her 40th year on planet earth with songs that are a poignant and humorous take on how it feels to grow old disgracefully.
The album opens with `Ordinary Life` which has a kind of shimmering Blondie `Heart Of Glass` disco vibe beat allowing a part spoken word part sung reminiscence on the artist`s almost adolescent · dreams of stardom. There`s a line that is wonderfully relevant which seems to be when the realisation of youthful days sliding away becomes apparent with “One day you will find yourself at a friend`s 40th birthday party, wondering how the days turned into decades and if anyone still does drugs” The track concludes with a line that sums it all up perfectly in “There`s nothing wrong with an ordinary life”.
We have a fast paced post punk offering in `The Bell` which enjoys some delightfully angled guitar chord riffs as it moves along. A tale of evenings spent getting wasted in pubs, talking garbage and giving no thought to the morning after and the dreaded spectre of work.
`Oh, Anna Nicole` is a bass driven offering with some retro resonating guitar tones and a rolling drum beat which allows a platform for this kind of cautionary tale of the American model, actress and television personality. A metaphor as to the perils of stardom maybe. The bouncy `Dance With the Rats` just might be a straight out tale of dancing your problems away but with this artist i`m not so sure, it describes a litany of dance partners and might be a allegory of all the less desirables you have to engage with to get on in the music business.
I loved `Confessions Of An Aging Party Girl` and why this wasn`t a big hit is beyond me. It opens with a beating drum and gently plucked haunting guitar chords before Emily joins in to relate this tale of as it says, an ageing party girl. It`s spoken word at first and her sultry tones would be good enough but as the mesmerising synth swatches join in, the chorus is a joy to behold with Emily singing the killer line of “The party’s over, baby, but I’m never going home, I’ll wrap my arms around a stranger, nothing glitters when your gone”. Yeah it does feel like you`re in a gothic disco but this has a joyous danceable feel as well as that underlying menace. Think of Twin Peaks or the Buffalo Bill dance track `Goodbye Horses` from Silence of the Lambs blended with German dance-rock/electropop diva Gina X. The diversity of this artist becomes apparent with `Part Of Me` a breathtakingly intensive soulful reflective ballad which develops an almost spirituality at times with some sublime gospel like harmonies.
`Cosmic Evolution` may refer to everything from the big bang to now but this number has a retro vibe with vocals that had a hint of vulnerability and reminded me of Julie Cruise. In my mind’s eye I saw our hero here in a smoky late night club setting in Twin Peaks sharing this opus. There was a Chrissie Hynde snarl to `Turn me on` which was fairly introspective and longed for days gone by when excess was a badge of honour and not frowned upon, a dreamy and alluring listen.
There`s more wistfulness to enjoy on `Chelsea Satanist` which hints at astronomy and science and rolls along with a fairly lethargic texture. The final minute takes off in a wonderful `Strawberry Fields Forever ` instrumental jam melange. We close out with `Hey Kidz` with a drum machine beat that leads Emily`s delicate vocal into a cautionary tale of how to get ahead or not in the music business. The track takes some interesting twists and turns along route with subtle guitar riffs, mesmerising keyboard swatches and a throbbing bass line before rising to a crescendo before fading out.
I have to say that `Rapture` was a stunning release with some delightfully acerbic lyrics that i`m sure can be interpreted in numerous ways. The definition of `Rapture` is of a feeling of intense pleasure or joy and this certainly delivers both and more. The singer utilised the talents of producer Stew Jackson (Massive Attack) and an all-star band including Rob Norbury (lead guitar), Andy Sutor (drums), Helen Stanley (keys/synth) and George Caveney (bass) to bring her narrative to life.
Emily Breeze is one of Bristol`s best kept secrets, lets see if we can finally change that.
Rating 9 / 10