By revealing the raw vulnerability at her core, this Los Angeles-based artist has created her most powerful work to date
Emma Ruth Rundle’s work with the bands Red Sparowes, Marriages and The Nocturnes often hints at the rawness at her core, without it ever spilling out. No such barriers present themselves on Marked For Death, the follow up to 2014’s Some Heavy Ocean. The production may be bold but it still leaves plenty of room for the Los Angeles singer to carry out her own musical exorcism.
Armed with her guitar and stormy voice, Rundle mines her sorrow and finds that it’s a fertile place. “Who else would ever stay?” she sings on the title track, a love song tinged with loss which proves a fitting introduction for what is to follow. Her vulnerability becomes all too apparent on Protection before a wall of distortion provides her with a shield of noise. On Medusa swaggering guitars cast a veil of empathy over the Gorgon monster.
The dynamics continue to shift across the record’s eight tracks. Strings and a thumping drum lend Heaven a cinematic feel, eventually bursting out into full HD. Real Big Sky closes the album by bringing it back to the starting question as she asks “Won’t you stay for a while with me?” And by baring her soul, and sound-tracking her own feelings of loss, Emma Ruth Rundle has created a compelling space in which to do some soul-searching.
Verdict: A cascading exorcism