Emma Russack
Sounds Of Our City

Written by Marc Zanotti

Following a successful string of uploaded acoustic covers (Love Will Tear Us Apart originally by Joy Division is definitely worth a listen) and the highly praised 2010 EP Peasants; Emma Russack’s debut album Sounds of Our City is set to be released on February 10, via Spunk Records.

Continuing to emphasise Russack’s powerfully haunting voice, Sounds of Our City explores a desire for independence and freedom which is compromised by the need for human interaction. Sounds of Our City is littered with realisations both liberating and deprecating while displaying Russack’s gifted understanding for storytelling.

The album begins with Tonight, a song which showcases Russack’s ability to build compelling narratives. Behind a drawn-out tempo and succinct opening lyrics “Tonight I’m gonna’ go out and get drunk and find someone to take me home”, the listener is immediately placed in Russack’s headspace. The seductive tone of Russack’s voice seemingly laments her need for contact as Tonight functions as a gut-wrenching plea for connection from a self-reliant protagonist.

Friends not Lovers continues to exhibit Russack’s willingness to be transparent for the sake of her art. Chronicling the transition faced by former lovers attempting to maintain a friendship, Russack sings “I would be lying if I said I would not run straight back into your arms, but we’re friends not lovers… anymore”. Listening to the wealth of experience delivered in her lyrics, it’s hard to believe Russack is only in her early twenties.

Yet it’s not only the wordsmithing but also the conviction of Russack’s vocals that helps create such compelling music. Russack possesses an enticing deep tone tailored for intimate ballads as evident on lead single He was my Family. A revelation of sorts, He was my Family is a coming-of-age moment. Focusing on a time when lessons are learnt outside of home, the theme of the single is summed up in the line “I found a friend, who showed me everything. He was my family”.

Sounds of Our City is consistently solid from start to finish, closing on This Love. The final lyrics invoke the album’s title before fittingly closing on a tranquil instrumental.

Behind her bellowing voice, Russack comes across as completely believable, painfully self-aware and radiates an aura of sensitivity. In an Australian music scene that is rich with prolific singer/songwriters such as Sarah Blasko, Angus & Julia Stone, Matt Corby, Sia and Paul Kelly (to name but a few) Emma Russack has firmly etched her own unique place among her more established contemporaries with Sounds of Our City.

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