There is plenty of drama in Emma Ruth Rundle’s music, as there probably should be on an album named Marked For Death. I mean drama in the classical sense: these songs trace out the movements of human emotion with remarkable clarity. Rundle’s voice and her ear for smoothly dark rock composition make this a strong solo effort. On Sargent House.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 12 October 2016
In the other room they are playing Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes 'Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong'....or something that sounds like it. That's why god invented headphones.
Luckily blotting all the work drivel out is Emma Ruth Rundle (not to be confused with crime writer Ruth Rendle). She used to be in Red Sparowes and Marriages and now makes dark churning rock that recalls PJ Harvey or Shannon Wright. It's harrowing alright but with guitars this dark it's impossible to be happy. The opening 'Marked For Death' is full of tension and gruesome chords, 'Protection' is a noisy slab of skewed rock juxtaposed with Rundle's sweetly disturbed voice. There are hints of Bat For Lashes in 'Medusa' with it's spiralling downward chords and harrowing lyrical content but this is a mostly guitar led record. Few synths. Rundle continues to come up with atmospherics that are sometimes redolent of early Liz Phair but there is a Goth sweep to these tracks with lashings of reverb giving a cavernous feel. Occasionally I wish it was dialled back especially on 'Heaven' which is a sweet ballad sang by someone sat in the worlds biggest church. The whole big-ness sometimes distracts but .... it's meant to be chilling and atmospheric.
I enjoyed listening to this record but I now feel like I want to slash something.
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