It has taken nearly six years but Emma Pollock has finally followed up her marvellous album The Law Of Large Numbers with In Search of Harperfield. The album nods in the direction of great female artists such as Kate Bush, Sandy Denny, Dusty Springfield and Kristin Hersh whilst Emma’s vocals recall the talents of Annie Lennox and Siouxsie Sioux. Emma’s songwriting ability and gift for melody set her apart from the pack. The album was produced by fellow ex-Delgado Paul Savage. In Search of Harperfield will please fans of The Delgados and is already regarded as one of the best albums in the Chemikal Underground cannon.
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Late of the much missed the Delgados - who’d have thought that Emma Pollock would still be releasing quality albums in 2016? Not me for sure but there again I have no faith in anyone.
Here, Pollock returns for the first time in six years with a confident album of twisty turn guitar pop which is both interesting and 6 Music playlist friendly. The big pop track is ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ which even has the cocksure-ness of Suede though shot through with the kind of interesting song structure that peers like Charlotte Hatherley possess. After that things get more interesting ‘Alabaster’ is a left turn into more Bat For Lashes territory with staccato melodies paving the way for ‘Clemency’ which has a dark orchestral feel like a more stripped down and simplified version of Julia Holter’s recent ‘Have You In My Wilderness;, it also reminds me of Kristen Hersh’s debut ‘Hips and Makers’. It’s certainly all a bit 'Eleanor Rigby’.
Lead track ‘Parks and Recreation’ is back to the upbeat pop of the first two tracks and is filled to the brim with hooks - I’m not convinced Pollock has the best voice in the world being a bit monotone and samey - but she certainly knows how to write interesting songs, I really like the line “I came down to feed the swans today but your constant squawking just scared them away.” Brilliant - I mean who feeds swans right? Terrifying creatures.
Good varied stuff from someone I’ve just seen described as ludicrously as the “first lady of Scottish pop”.
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