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Album Review: Emma Anglesey’s ‘Some Things Can’t Be Undone’

3 minutes to read

Tasmanian singer-songwriter Emma Anglesey has released her long-awaited debut album Some Things Can’t Be Undone. The album, produced by Joshua Barber (Gotye, Gretta Ray) hosts 10 songs, including brand newies plus old fan-favourites.

We heard a teaser in “Swells My Heart”, the first single from the album that dropped at the beginning of June, and the sense of eeriness woven into an acoustic sound with poetic, rhythmic lyrics is prominent through the rest of the record.

Emma’s been publishing music for a while. “Bike” dropped on Unearthed in 2014, and “Mary-Anne” two years later, with both tracks making a return for the new record. If the rave reviews on her Unearthed profile are anything to go by, these two are welcomed back with open arms.

The opener, “Shadow of Roses”, is ominous, filled with vocal harmonies and prolonged notes to create a feeling of suspense – it could fit comfortably into a scene from The Hunger Games.

Title track “Some Things Can’t Be Undone” creates the perfect build up. What begins with minimal instrumental and soft, drawn-out lyrics slowly develops into anthemic proportions. Before you know it there’s heavy drums, multiple guitars, organs and electronics. New sounds appear from every direction; what should be a musical mess is produced so precisely it falls into a beautifully organised chaos.

“Fire” begins with echoing drums and sounds almost industrial. There’s a certain underground/warehouse grittiness to the whole album. Combined with her interpretive lyrics and the hypnotic backing vocals, Emma Anglesey’s sound is something like nothing I’ve heard before.

“Where is the Rain” ditches the industrial noise for a more traditional acoustic performance, and we’re given a clearer sound of Emma’s voice with less distraction. It’s soft, clear and soothing and led me down an online rabbit hole trying to find the name of another similar song. (It was “White Flag” by Dido, remember that tune?!)

Up until this point, Some Things Can’t Be Undone sounds like Daughter, Dido and Wolf Alice got trapped in an elevator together and used their time to create something new and exciting. Then, we get to “In My Own Defence”. The elevator has started again, the doors have opened and on the ground floor, waiting to join the party, is Evanescence.

Despite her bio describing her sound as “indie, pop, roots” Emma Anglesey has, possibly unknowingly, seemed to create a whole new (or maybe just under-represented) genre which I’m labelling industrial-folk. With beats that seem to use everything but your typical drum kit and the blending of seemingly random instruments to create perfectly intertwined tracks, Some Things Can’t Be Undone provides a refreshing element to typical acoustic music and scores an industrial safety rating (and listening score) of 4.2 out of five.