Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Emmy The Great’s latest is a collection of rich tales told with whimsy and dedication

"April / 月音"

Release date: 09 October 2020
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06 October 2020, 07:12 Written by Dan Cromb
“My story begins with the moon. In September 2017, I travelled to Hong Kong from New York, where I’d lived for three years, for the mid-autumn festival. I was planning to visit my parents and take some time off to write my fourth album. I arrived in time for the full moon - Chang-E’s moon - at a time of year when the heat breaks and the city seems alive with possibility.”

This is the opening account of how the latest album from Emmy The Great came to be. The singer-songwriters fourth to date, April / 月音 is a rich collection of tales, all told through Emma-Lee Moss’s typically whimsical lenses. The entire album was written in less than a month, back in 2018, but is only surfacing now after a period of maternity leave, following the birth of her daughter Riri.

April / 月音 is, at its heart, a moving catalogue of stories about every-day life; some focussed on minor irritations, others on the tumultuous shifts of an entire country in motion. "Writer", for example, is a dry, wry take on everyday life, and "Mary", named after a Hong Kong fortune teller Moss met in Kowloon, is similar. Both are commentaries on the mundane, moulded and manipulated at the hands of a master crafts person , with more than just something a little Joni Mitchell-esque about them.

"A Window/ O'Keeffe" is an American-tinged number, steeped in nostalgia, written about a summer spent living in Brooklyn. “It was a summer of bright sun and dizzying freedom, the kind that only happens when your life is about to change,” explains Moss. "Dandelions" is a similarly charming, upbeat track, albeit one about learning to live with uncertainty.

Collectively, it’s certainly Moss’s strongest work to date - a thoughtful, mature album, which delivers plenty of food for thought and a range of sounds, emotions and lyrical quirks to keep most listeners happy.

Explaining how the album still sounds so relevant now, despite all that has passed since its conception, Moss closes by saying “I’ll never know why the city called me back, but I know what it gave me. In return, I want to give it this album. That mid-autumn, nobody could have predicted what was to come, neither the atomisation that began with the anti-Extradition Law protests in June 2019, nor the struggle for democracy that continues now, through the Covid-19 pandemic. To witness your birth city in its greatest moment of need is a powerful, humbling event, and I know I watched Hong Kong’s destiny shift into something turbulent and uncertain. I’m glad I recorded what I felt there, during a precious, peaceful time, when life was so good that all I had to do was trust the moon. May it be just one small piece of witness among many, and may the voices of Hong Kong never stop speaking, and asking to be heard.”

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