Emily Wells – Mama

emilywellsIf a picture speaks a thousand words, then that cover art sings the whole album. Juggling childish innocence with a veiled maturity, the MO of Texas born gone-to NYC artist Emily Wells is second only to her handling of instruments and all other sounds besides. But even this seems paltry next to the list of many influences behind her debut UK album Mama, a great deal of which seem more cultural than individual. She knows how to make it all work together, with an astonishingly original and plainly enjoyable outing that wants to ingrain its every moment into your life.

Bar the more begrimed song writing, Wells stands as an arguable female alternative to the old indietronic work of Her Space Holiday, with well chosen keys and beat machines humming along to slow spoken singing that borders on rap, whilst still drawing a clear line between the two.  To those who picked up her accompanying song to the big bang ending of Park Chan Wook’s Stoker earlier this year, the songs here feel a little different, with a little more personality oozing from the addictively deviant way she emphasizes certain words, or her commitment to leaving some distorted sound to plague every second.

The kind of lyrics here are those that can be related by anyone who’s enjoyed a somewhat interesting life in the city, with standout “Dirty Sneakers and Underwear” twisting old adages and issues  into “Woes, woes, yeah we got a few, I bit it off now I gotta chew. Ways, ways, now we got too many, going down town now, you look so pretty. Love, love we got plenty. Got more love than we ever had money.” There’s respect for the humdrum too, with the eternal chorus of “Oh My Darling, Clementine” making its way into the album’s closing number, as well that oddly endearing ‘grandpappy’ voice she puts on for “Johnny Cash’s Mama’s House”.

Already well established in many live circuits for making her own loops on stage and playing everything from her trusted violin to children’s instruments, one could easily forget how unique a player Emily Wells actually is when it comes to her studio material. Her singing has an almost parrot like ability to impersonate memorable voices, yet with all the bells and whistles you don’t attach a different face. On top of this, Mama is full of true music soul (has a bit of the genre in it too), and the only major criticism is the lack of a really good stripped down acoustic number, which is probably why she’s releasing an acoustic version. Truly, she’s thought of everything.

Release: 3rd June 2013, Partisan

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