The sheer breadth of musical projects that Emma Ruth Rundle has made her mark with is truly breath-taking; from the post-rock soundscape influenced Red Sparowes through to her fronting the organic, experimental, heavy shoegaze-tinged Marriages, her work showcases many sides of her personality. Nothing is quite so laid bare and personal however, as the work contained in her solo albums. All her disparate musical projects carry a dark underbelly of vulnerability that washes over and seduces the listener, but we only see Rundle at her lowest ebbs through her solo work. Her latest, Marked For Death is released through Sargent House on Friday 30th September, but you can stream it exclusively 4 days before its official release below.
More ambitious and adventurous than her previous solo album, 2014’s Some Heavy Ocean, Marked For Death marks the point where Rundle’s distinct singer/songwriter style comes fully into fruition. The album chronicles a period of emotional upheaval in her life utilising fragility and femininity in exquisitely exposing ways. ‘There is intentionally nothing to hide behind here,’ she says ‘but at the same time I’m terrified of revealing myself. The subject matter is largely about being defeated and shrunken into the base human themes of love and loss. It’s a far cry from high art. It’s very much from the dirt.’
The waves of cascading reverb-drenched electric guitar provide a shimmering, dark foundation for the sweetly haunting melody of Rundle’s fragile vocals, surely her most exposed and finest vocal delivery to date. Her lyrics focus on themes of self-destruction, transmutation, love, loss and death but despite the moribundity of the subject matter, the music is at once transgressive, heart-breaking and exhilirating, as if the sonic soundscape created were carrying Rundle through her melancholy. Even if music doesn’t heal all her wounds, it does provide her comfort and will no doubt prove just as cathartic for the listener.
Rundle has fully embraced her role as singer/songwriter, writing a record that reveals new depths on every listen whilst still retaining the unorthodox approach she’s showcased throughout her career. With Marked For Death, she has created an album that stands shoulder to shoulder with her previous preeminent work.