They say that music heals the soul. On her fourth album, Come Back, New York based artist Emma Frank has certainly proved if nothing else, it can certainly be a source of relaxation and escapism.
Frank’s music is the aural equivalent of a stroll through the woods on a spring afternoon: warm and intimate, but full of pleasant surprises and vivid sensations.
Throughout Come Back, the instrumental arrangement supporting the vocals rarely stretches beyond a gently stroked piano, a considered guitar and some elegant drumming. You occasionally feel the swooping caress of a violin; but in general, emptiness plays just as important a role as noise.
‘I Thought‘, for example, sees Emma Frank‘s wonderfully expressive, melancholy voice given swathes of room to ebb and flow in without clashing with the supporting structures.
‘Two Hours‘ is equally soothing, which slowly rolls over your ears like a cloud bank over a hillside. It slowly reaches a cacophony of sorts with more forceful piano playing and echoed vocals towards its end.
Shifting the focus slightly, ‘Sometimes‘ takes a more playful approach thanks to the interplay between the piano and vocals. Each seems to urge the other on to greater heights; with the resultant escalating flourishes a joy to behold. ‘Promises‘ holds your attention in a similar fashion, with the vocals and piano mirroring each other exactly in an elegant dance full of movement and emotion.
Following the charming interval that is ‘Dream Team‘, the record introduces a more energetic vibe. ‘See You‘ is a jazz infused track with an optimistic, forward looking feel to the instrumentation. That injection of positivity is matched on ‘Come Back‘, where you might even go so far as to describe the piano playing as jaunty.
After such levels of excitement, Come Back rounds off with another soother thanks to the gentle sway of ‘Before You Go Away‘. Lyrically open and genuinely heartwarming, it acts as the perfect way to conclude an album full of genuine moments of bliss.
Come Back is a record which delights and soothes in equal measure. By stripping arrangements back and allowing each instrument space and time to contribute, Emma Frank has perfectly distilled her sound. The only question is – where does she go from here?
Sounds Like… Leaves rustling in the wind on a warm day