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A review of...

Eletryl by Mary Epworth

Date: 
September 1, 2017
Writer: 
Adam Millard
8.5

Five years on since the release of her debut album Dream Life, Mary Epworth has finally brought us a new one in the form of the sleek and bleak Eletryl. Although it may seem like Epworth has been taking her merry time coming up with new material, the truth is she's been busy working with the "hit US podcast Welcome to Night Vale and its spin-off Within the Wires". I will freely admit that I've heard of neither. However, if Epworth's contributions to those projects are anywhere near the quality of these recordings, I might be swayed to add it to my ever expanding podcast list. Move over Marc Maron (maybe).

The Mary Epworth of 2017 has ditched most of the scuzzy guitar and folk-psychedelic elements of her debut album in favour of purer electronic sound. Recorded in LA with producer Thom Monahan (not particularly known for his electro influence), this album dips into many sides of the electronic world:- occasionally minimal ("One Big Wave"), occasionally "prog" (see the synthesizer outro of "Lost Everything" which nods to Pink Floyd's most commercially and critically acclaimed era) and occasionally pop (see "Burned It Down" which moves more towards Goldfrapp, Erasure and Music Go Music). There are even moments where the album segues into more abstract territory, such as "Bring Me The Fever" which sees Epworth dabbling with unsettling soundscapes and freeform jazz. Essentially Eletryl is an album of sidesteps and sharp turns, each song can offer up a jarring stylistic departure from the one that came before it. Sometimes this is the case within a single track, like on the beautiful "Last Night" which starts off as a melancholic ambient lullaby but then suddenly, and unexpectedly becomes something far more sinister and transcendent. It gets noisy in the way that Tim Hecker gets noisy and the quiet/loud dynamic would give the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor a run for their money. In other words its an absolute "banger" and a high point of an excellent LP.