• James Harvey

Album Review - A Fish of Earth - Emily Brown - 2020

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Emily Brown, a singer/songwriter and poet, from the sunshine state of Californian, USA.

You may remember (or if you don’t, do check it out) Emily Brown released the rather excellent album Bee-Eater back in 2018.

Now two years later, we are ready to receive her latest work, A Fish of Earth, which was released on the 23rd October 2020. I’ll get this out of the way right now, Emily, didn’t want to follow up her previous work with more of the same, so I came to this album with no idea of what to expect.

© Emily Brown

Right from the off you'll notice that instead of the low-key piano and guitar of Bee-Eater, we are treated to an extravagant and whimsical wall of orchestration. More in line with a musical, in the form of The Wizard of Oz, than something I would expect from a folk album.

I’m happy to report that it works, for me at least. I love the way it’s intertwined with Emily Brown’s conversational, nay, philosophically lyrical exploration of relationship’s, Motherhood, Womanhood and the trials they all bring. Rather than throwaway lines, rhymes and choruses, we are treated to stories, closer to spoken word poems than songs normally found on an album.

© Emily Brown

With the opening track ‘Amen Amen’, Emily Brown, begins the first act with a conversational exploration of a relationship, the lyrics flowing over organ music that wouldn’t be out of place in a small-town church. Act one, Scene one, had started and immediately I was hooked, cautiously awaiting the story's unfolding in my mind’s eye.

The unconventional crafting of the lyrics pulled me along across the changing musical landscape; from a modern folk sound with ‘Baby Wanting’ to the operatic climax ‘But You Might Rise’, with the genre bending twists and turns in between.

© Emily Brown

The album ‘A Fish of Earth’ conjures up images of a wandering bard telling stories around a packed campfire to an aged actor taking the stage for the last time, in order to deliver her final swansong. The tales again blur the lines of established genres, some are amusing anecdotes, some heart-wrenching tales, while others are more of an educational reasoning, a guide for those still to experience.

If you hadn’t guessed I love the album. Even after I’ve listened to it many times, ‘A Fish of Earth’ is hard to describe when comparing to other artists work.

The closest I can suggest is it reflects a little of the style of Kate Bush or Joanna Newsom, with a hint of Damh the Bard, yet Emily Brown stays original, true to herself, and to the message she wishes to present to us, for our mellifluous musing.

© Emily Brown

A Fish of Earth, is out now on all good streaming services and is well worth your time.

For more information on Emily Brown you can have a wee wonder over to her Facebook page here:

Or have a look at her Bandcamp site here:

A big thank you to Carl from 58 North PR for sending us the album.

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