Emma Fish's latest EP will pry open your heart with a crowbar.
At least once a class period, my poetry professor drives into our heads the importance of “vulnerability” in a poem. “How can a reader be moved by your words,” he says, “If they can’t see you? How can they understand if you’re always hiding behind abstractions?” Sometimes I wish he’d stop talking about it so friggin’ much, but I can’t say I don’t agree with him; I’ve always found that it's easiest to connect with artists that can show their life, rather than just tell me about it. It’s all well and good to say “I love you,” but if you say something like, “I want my shirts next to yours,” that's when it hits the hardest. The image is specific and concrete, and infinitely more human — you can’t help but insert yourself and your own experiences into the storyline. Bedroom pop artists have always seemed to be the most adept at this skill, able to draw you into the deep end of the pool armed only with subtle lyrics and unassuming melodies. There are times that I’ll listen to an album, and it feels like the music might as well be prying my heart open with a crowbar. Fortunately for me, Emma Fish’s newest EP, cool night with the windows open, is one of those times. Buckle up kids, because things are about to get a little, dare I say it… twee-motional.
You know those cushy feather pillows they sell at Wal-Mart for dirt cheap? The EP begins with Emma Fish essentially throwing one of those at your face. The rawness of “Lonesome Girl,” with its stripped-down aesthetic, will initially catch you off guard but the delicate vocals and simple guitar rhythms won’t end up hurting a bit (physically, that is). The rest of the EP rolls out in much the same way, like a steady stream of soft puffs chipping away at your apathy. “Episode” digs deeper into the concept of loneliness, weaving a bite-sized tale about love, television, and the complexities of a relationship, while the steady “No Good Feelings” draws connections between lucky pennies and mental health. But don’t stop there — it’s the end of the EP that finds Emma Fish really coming into their own as a songwriter. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that I plan on covering “Only You” soon and leave it at that. Fans of Frankie Cosmo’s earlier work will feel right at home in Emma Fish’s sparse soundscapes and vulnerable pop purity, and fans of bedroom pop in general will find something to love in the five quick tracks. Crack open a window tonight, let some cool air in, and sing your sweetheart to sleep: “It’s pretty tricky and lonely, but you are my only.”
Listen to Emma Fish on bandcamp.
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Hannah Wait is a 20 year-old college student/musician/radio DJ who spends her free time listening to vaporwave like it’s still 2013. Validate her existence by checking her music out here.