Emma Ruth Rundle
Marked For Death


3.0
good

Review

by Tristan Jones EMERITUS
September 28th, 2016 | 659 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Closure

Emma Ruth Rundle, also of post-rock/gazey band Marriages and atmospheric sludge group Red Sparrowes, has transitioned into solo singer-songwriter territory, which was only fully realized on 2014’s Some Heavy Ocean. Here, on Marked for Death, we see her vocals embody Dolores O’Riordan’s entrancing lilt, Grace Slick’s psych-folk wandering, and Raine Maida’s alt-rock edge. Instrumentally, her guitar occupies spaces of shoegaze, post-rock, and sludge (basically an amalgamation of prior work). Texturally, the album is lusciously layered, thanks in part to co-producer Sonny DiPerri (a collaborator in some of Portugal. The Man’s material, among many others). While feeling quite tender, vulnerable, and small, Marked for Death expands into a vast sonic realm. Unfortunately, Rundle’s artistic vision feels too grounded for the existential and spiritual subject matter. One suspects the singer might have been on the cusp of a deep, near-death awakening, and simply chose not to explore any further; she covers a lot of ground, but doesn't truly tests the dimensions. Maybe an impending, inevitable death has made her compliant and casually introspective. Or defeated and humbled.

Despite the conceptual tethering, Marked for Death boasts some lovely melodies, primarily in “Protection”, “Furious Angel”, “So Come”, and closer “Real Big Sky”. Even with the singer-plus-guitar straightforwardness of the confessionals, Rundle captures plenty of nuance and evocative themes. There are places where the guitar could be confused with creative percussion implementation, or where it accents the song understatedly, propelling Rundle’s intended mood further than her lyrics would have otherwise. The album’s promotional spiel promises all levels of devastating personal grappling, and it’s likely hyperbole. Marked for Death is, for the most part, a display of smart production and captivating melodies. Still, regardless of all that, Emma encompasses her vision admirably with “Real Big Sky”, ironically the most modest-sounding number. The song features crunchy, barebones guitar work doctored with clever, intricate finishes, but it’s the simplicity of the lyrics that makes it all worthwhile. The chorus goes, “I don’t wanna be awake when it takes me / but I can’t wait to see you smile on the other side / I can’t wait to kiss the face of the big sky / I don’t wanna say ‘goodbye' to you.”

This isn’t exactly provocative philosophy, but in conjunction with the preceding themes of failure and heartache, it’s the album’s biggest, most effective statement. Despite the harrowing series of swan songs and constant questioning, it’s telling that, in Rundle’s last moments, she devolves into such frank, peaceful thoughts. One almost wishes more people were interviewed in their dying, bedridden moments (though it’s clearly understandable why this isn’t a frequent practice). It would reveal a lot about the human condition. Possibly that, despite our labyrinthine attempts at soul-searching, we’re willing to shed that dead weight in favour of something instinctual and untarnished: the mere presence of a loved one, and optimistic release. Suddenly, Marked for Death is less ill-boding and begrudging, becoming a paean of acceptance.




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user ratings (199)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
September 28th 2016


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

stream https://soundcloud.com/sargent-house/sets/emma-ruth-rundle-marked-for-death



y'all'll probably like this much more than me so don't get off-put by this if you're already a fan of hers

iloveyouall
September 28th 2016


6319 Comments


too many paragraphs tbh

Sinternet
September 28th 2016


20851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh shiiiiit i forgot this was coming out with sll the bomb releases recently

Digging: Andy Stott - It Should Be Us

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
September 28th 2016


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

too many paragraphs tbh




; / ya i was worried 'bout that, will condense it to something more frugal

iloveyouall
September 28th 2016


6319 Comments


it's okay, i just don't read anymore
starting to kinda follow a "don't write what you wouldn't read" philosophy when it comes to reviewing and the like.

Sinternet
September 28th 2016


20851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

review is good but it reads higher than a 3 tbh

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
September 28th 2016


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i disagree tho i guess it's arbitrary and all that. i really don't compliment the album that much beginning-to-end. if it wasn't for the closer and a couple of the better melodies i'd be tempted to 2.5 this. some of the descriptions might sound like high praise but for the most part i think i keep things fairly low-key until i get to the end where i praise the album's end note

iloveyouall
September 28th 2016


6319 Comments


she gone full indie with that septum piercing

Hellscythe
September 28th 2016


4278 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"y'all'll probably like this much more than me so don't get off-put by this if you're already a fan of hers"



thank you for saying this because the review started to have me worried



good review even though I hope I disagree with the rating

Digging: Thornhill - The Dark Pool

Sinternet
September 28th 2016


20851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fair enough i guess

Sinternet
September 28th 2016


20851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah based on tracks i already heard predicting this to be a 4 for me

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
September 28th 2016


6743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah idk, all i can do is try and rep the album the best i can while still being honest with my own reception. try and ignore the numbered score (which personally I sometimes wish could be excluded from the review)

iloveyouall
September 28th 2016


6319 Comments


just rate everything 5/5 and no one will complain tbh

emester
September 28th 2016


8271 Comments


how did I not know bout this fucking hell

zaruyache
September 28th 2016


21606 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

On a cursory listen this didn't seem as good as the debut, but I'm rechecking it now so we'll see.

Digging: Blue Noise - Everyone Goes Away Eventually

Sinternet
September 28th 2016


20851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah might be good to have reviews without scores and let the words speak for themselves

iloveyouall
September 28th 2016


6319 Comments


"riffs" should be banned from use in any form of review.

Sinternet
September 28th 2016


20851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'staff' should be banned from the site tbqh

most of them write the worst reviews on the site

Hellscythe
September 28th 2016


4278 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I thought "Protection" was better than anything off her debut (which I loved), hopefully the rest lives up to that



I'm refraining from listening to it until I get my pre-order in a few days so I guess we'll see

iloveyouall
September 28th 2016


6319 Comments


"staff should be banned from the site tbqh"
only ben kettele



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