AltDialogue Album Review: Emma Ruth Rundle "Some Heavy Ocean"

Rating 9/10

Emma Ruth Rundle releases her new solo album, Some Heavy Ocean, on the 20th May via Sargent House. For the ease of knowing where this will sit on your radar you could pigeon hole the sound on Some Heavy Ocean as being alt or post folk. In reality however that doesn’t do the album any justice. What you have is a collection of 10 beautifully crafted songs. They are passionate and chilling, each song seems to be exercising some kind of demon.

If you’re not familiar with Emma Ruth Rundle, then you won’t know of her pedigree. In 2007 she formed the folkgaze collective The Nocturnes before joining seminal post rock legends Red Sparrows. This was the time that her guitar playing really came to the fore (you’ll hear plenty of her excellent playing on Some Heavy Ocean), when Red Sparowes went on hiatus in 2011 she formed the brilliant Marriages. Not content with this pedigree she also reformed the Nocturnes and released an album of experimental guitar compositions.

Fast forward a couple years, through which Rundle went experienced a “dark, difficult time”; marked by family problems and personal struggles, and 2013 sees her settle in Sargent House’s home studio to record Some Heavy Ocean. The result is those dark times laid down on record, with each vocal the pain and anguish resonates through your bones. It’s an alarming experience listening to Some Heavy Ocean, sit down and really listen and you’ll find yourself moved.

That’s not to say this is a depressing record, for every moment of despair you’ll be suckered in by an equally optimistic moment. ‘Shadows Of My Name’ is a beautiful and delicate, its bleakness only strengthening the track. ‘Run Forever’ is the album’s highlight, Rundle’s vocal is enchanting and guitar work is superb. It’s one of the more hopeful tracks and as such it’s compelling. Parts of the track are reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins at their most delicate. ‘Haunted Houses’ has more of that intricate guitar work and as becomes a common factor throughout Some Heavy Ocean Rundle’s voice tugs at your emotions.

‘Oh Sarah’ takes the pace down a notch, slow moving and serene the song will send a shiver down the back of the most hardened listener. Unsurprisingly the guitar work is captivating making you feel every note as it reverberates through your body. ‘Savage Saint’ and ‘We Are All Ghosts’ are both exquisite tracks, before you have album closer ‘Living With The Black Dog’ which is something truly special. The guitar goes electric for the first time adding a dark and brooding mood. Epic and haunting Some Heavy Ocean signs off making you feel like you’ve just listened to something deeply personal and my word does it leave its mark.

If you don’t find yourself emotionally attached come the end then you need to ask yourself some serious questions. A remarkable piece of work.

- by AltDialogue