California’s Emma Ruth Rundle has undergone some major evolution since I first heard the opening vocals of “Some Heavy Ocean” off her debut LP of the same name. She has seemingly strayed away from her mainly acoustic presence to a more post rock feel in her sophomore release, Marked for Death, dropping today, September 30th!
Marked for Death is best enjoyed at night, particularly when the sun has been long down and you’re ready to sulk before being embraced by the throes of a dreamless sleep. It’s a dark album laden with coo-ing vocals that give it a daze-like feel periodically broken by thick, distorted guitars and pounding drums. Emma is basically a Lana del Rey-ified Alanis Morissette backed by some post rock band.
My main criticism is that each track seems to drone on into the next with each having a very similar feel and structure – a slow start that builds up into a post rock drop, then goes back down and back up…kind of like going to an amusement park that has 15 of the same exact ride. The thrills and spills are there, sure, but don’t expect any wildcards in the mix.
In other words, this is an album you’d turn on when trying to focus on something else rather than an album that you’d sit down and really listen to, as there isn’t much substance or variance in the tracks. It’s more of a soundscape than it is a musical work, and you can check out the album review below!
Marked For Death Tracklist:
1. Marked For Death
4. Hand of God
6. So, Come
7. Furious Angel
8. Real Big Sky
However, I feel like Emma could have gone this route intentionally to capture the monotonous feel of going through a phase of depression coupled with the feelings of anger, doubt and remorse. She glazes over all these feelings throughout the 8-track LP. There’s a certain restlessness she capitalizes on throughout the work – a feeling of having all these feelings but being unable to process or express them in any other way besides the musical medium.
All in all, Marked for Death is a solid album that shows promise in Emma’s musical prowess. She’s shown evolution since her last release, which says good things about her development as an artist – now that she has these two albums under her belt, I’m intrigued to see where she goes next.
Otherwise, you can keep up with Emma Ruth Rundle on her social media!