Review – See Emily Play EP

See Emily Play’s new EP made a huge noise when singer songwriter Emily Ireland took it to crowdfunding website Sponsume earlier this year and promptly raised three times its goal… 
Put together partly in response to the experience of playing Tramlines with Sheffield Chamber Orchestra, and with all proceeds going to Rape Crisis it’s a project that speaks of Ireland’s compulsive mix of grandeur and drive – a perfect fit for the swirling, diarised drama of the four songs therein.
First track ‘Fair Game’ is a great starting point, bringing together a particularly thorny See Emily Play emotional dilemma/confessional based around the archetypal SEP third person ‘him’ and one of Ireland’s most gorgeous piano lines – now with added strings! See Emily Play can occasionally be the equivalent of the scene in a costume drama where the heroine is unwillingly squeezed into a constricting corset but there’s a double edge to Emily’s lyrics here that suggests she might not be the one in a fix.

‘Memo’ – the smallest, possibly most impressive song on the EP – could be another example of this.  A push-pull of emotional co-dependency that’s a bit like a prequel to amazing Victorian 'madwoman in the attic' horror The Yellow Wallpaper, it showcases Emily’s classical ear for arrangements (aided by regular In Session producers G2 Studios as well as Sheffield Chamber Orchestra, natch) that’s most impressive for the way it resists going for the big Tori Amos finish and draws you in as a result. Walk away from that cello if you can.
Along the same lines, the best track on the EP is the one that doesn’t really give a damn. The sassy ‘Let’s Go Get Away’ sets a brassy Madness-like stomp against a catty tale of what could be a dirty weekend or could be a horrible mistake – probably both – but it’s a gallop away from the Bronte-like horseback soul that is See Emily Play’s stock in trade and a real thrill. A wild tail.   
'See Emily Play EP' is released on Spotify and iTunes on 17th December. Tickets for the EP launch at The Harley in Sheffield on 20th December are available here. 

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