EMA – The Future's Void
| 31 Mar 2014
Album title: The Future's Void
Label: City Slang
Release date: 7 Apr
Erika M Anderson’s Past Life Martyred Saints was an explosive, unsettling debut, a day-glo riot of sputtering confessional and expressionist worldview. It had colour and identity, its creator’s ambition seemingly boundless. That daring, a bespoke aesthetic that harnesses jittery electro (Satellites), 70s singer-songwriter re-imaginings (When She Comes) and chamber elegy (Dead Celebrity), hits paydirt on this fascinating and fearless follow-up.
“Disassociation, it’s just a modern disease,” Anderson whispers on 3Jane, but The Future’s Void has heart and brains beyond the blank resignation of its title. It plays like a series of acutely-observed dispatches from the American nightmare, one at war with her emerging artistry and, crucially, celebrity. Amidst this undercurrent of instability, Anderson emerges as an arch dramatist, her lyrics, though still pleasingly opaque, tracking further and wider than before.
Aided by co-producer and touring band member Leif Shackleford, a deeper, fuller production supports her striving. Amidst the taut sequencing, rattling percussion and trademark distorted vocals, there are moments of unexpected fragility. The hymnal quietude of 100 Years is an untypical showstopper; one of several beguiling detours that makes this album so beautifully difficult to pin down. Its genre-switching initially wrong-foots, but The Future’s Void, bolstered by a deep musicality, is visionary to the core.[Gary Kaill]