Review Summary: #firstworldproblems
Three years after releasing one of 2011’s best albums EMA is back with her second record the Future’s Void. The new album deviates from the last one and you feel less like you are reading a diary and more like you're unraveling a manifesto. There is an uneasiness found in this album as certain modern afflictions don’t sit well with the band. It is in the paradigm of unequal power, whether between other humans or machines, that keeps EMA up at night.
“Feel like I blew my soul out
across the interwebs and screamed
it was a million pieces
of silver and watched them gleam
it left a hole so big inside of me
and i get terrified that
I will never get it back to me
I guess its just a modern disease”
These lyrics off of the track 3Jane speak to the core of the album. The omnipresent fear of encroaching technology you could argue is a comparable theme to Radiohead’s OK Computer. People aren’t always comfortable living in the eras they were born. Both bands would have benefited to heed Dylan’s message written long ago; the times they are a changin’.
What set EMA's first album apart was its fearlessness. It possessed the boldness which showed her creating tracks without musical or lyrical boundaries. This album isn't quite so adventurous but it does expand the sound from the last record. With musical nods to bands like Jesus and Mary Chain and Ministry the songs still drip with fuzz but many also incorporate an industrial feel as well. If you pay close attention, just behind the heavy synths and layers of distortion you can sometimes hear the humming of a moog or sweet sounding viola. Also of note are the two fairly simple guitar tracks that are surprisingly catchy and as close to pop songs as EMA has ever gotten. The final track here is the only miscarriage with the faux funeral march organ line sounding cheesy to all. Lyrically speaking familiarity with authors William Gibson and H.R. Lovecraft will help listeners be able to glean more meaning.
So what really is the future’s void" Is it isolation, poverty, depression, scientific obsolescence or some new hazard" A quick study of history reveals the interesting thing about the human condition is that our problems never actually change. What was an obstacle before will be again but often in a different form. So the future’s void is really the same as what we’ve dealt with in the past and present The way it reveals itself however is yet unknown and its that uncertainty that can drive you crazy.
“i remember when the world was divided
by a wall of concrete and a curtain of iron
still they put a man up into space
and we go there each night alone in the waste”
SIDE NOTE: NOT PART OF THE REVIEW
I sometimes dispute the relevance of this kind of album. When people project an over importance on their own anxieties. Would these issues be something you’d want to share with someone facing starvation or living in a war zone. Not only that but people who fear technology may someday look as silly as the aborigines who are afraid to be photographed. This lack of perspective can diminish my enjoyment of a record. On the other hand who am I to infer the severity of someone’s mental state. Since the mind controls the body the health of the body also can reflect the state of the mind. Therefore as a psychiatrist that charges way too much money would say we do the best we can with the cards we are dealt.