Having embedded herself within the growing Limerick music scene over the last number of years, as well as offering plenty of performances beyond the Treaty City’s borders, the release of Emma Langford’s first self-titled EP was an exciting and timely step forward for the singer-songwriter-mouth trumpet (more on that later).
Opening track You Are Not Mine begins with the faint hum of a bowed double bass, placing Langford’s delicate vocals under the spotlight before building to a sweet, playful and frankly melodically irresistible song portraying the romantic quandary of young love.
What is immediately evident is that Langford’s music occupies that middle ground between the sweetness of youthful innocence and the more hard-headed qualities that develop with experience. There is often a sense of vulnerability conveyed vocally, but this is tempered by mature reflections lyrically. Take for example lead single, and perhaps the quintessential track from the EP, The Seduction Of Eve where the protagonist surrenders herself too quickly to a certain someone, only for it to end in estrangement.
There is a very sensitive honesty here, unguarded by any sense of ego or pride. While a distant guitar swell contributes to this sullen atmosphere, Langford reflects; “So I wonder did you ever really care that much for me? / Was it all another epic you were writing?” and “I don’t mind /no I don’t mind / I’m just trying to find my peace of mind”.
While Langford truly shines at moments such as these (similarly elsewhere in All You Want), there is also more stylistic variety that is essential to her overall sound. This diversity is captured best in tracks such as Tug O’ War, which starts with a basic guitar intro a la Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, and continues under the guidance of a plodding rhythm while exploring some gospel-folk roots, and Goodbye Hawaii, a jazzy number where influences such as Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones are out in full swing.
The latter track demonstrates some fairly dramatic efficiency on Langford’s part where in the absence of a trumpet, she simply simulates the sound vocally. This may sound bizarre, but there is a pint on offer to anyone who could honestly detect a difference.
Earning a good review in the early days for a singer-songwriter is a tall order. Credit must be awarded to those who defy the dime-a-dozen issues related to the genre and create something truly special. Emma Langford’s six track self-titled EP does just that. Each song is instantly memorable after the first listen and they only endear themselves further to the listener with each passing play.