Emma Russack : Sounds Of Our City
Lurching back to stone-cold reality after a long stint of travel can suck. It seems to have hit Emma Russack particularly hard - after a year of travelling through South America, the Narooma-born singer settles into what must’ve been a particularly bitter Melbourne winter. It has been a couple of years since Russack shed her Lola Flash moniker, a move which almost always suggests a move toward a more personal sound. And yet her first solo full-length album gets under her skin on a considerably deeper level.
Whether it’s a symptom of her dislocation or not, there’s a deep sense of loss at the core of Sounds Of Our City. Opening song Tonight doesn’t waste any time with setting the tone: ‘Tonight I’m going to go out and get drunk, and find someone to take me home/No great expectations, anyone will do.’ It’s far from an uptempo ‘hey single ladies!’ defiance but nor is Russack playing the victim - her delivery is too direct and forceful for that. Instead, it’s a stoic march into independence while falling into, sometimes even relishing, a sense of sadness.
The theme of enforced loneliness carries through the album. Friends Not Lovers is a deceptively content view of a hopeless situation, with a dual male vocal offering support for the chorus. Later, in No Pets, she doesn’t even want furry animals to get close to her. Despite her attempts to hold us at arms length, there’s a warmness to the music and a disarming honesty to the lyrics. You can’t help but embrace it.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: He Was My Family
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In A Word: Heavy-hearted