Emma Langford’s sophomore release ‘Sowing Acorns’ is an excellent follow-up to her debut record ‘A Quiet Giant’ that clearly displays a growing ambition in production and composition, with sumptuous musicianship laying the perfect platform for Langford’s ever-beguiling voice & songwriting to shine throughout.
From the off this is a record where personal struggles and anxieties are explored but with defiance and inner strength declared. This is illustrated in the the superb opening track Birdsong with a fantastic chorus featuring Ruth Smith, Alma Kelliher, Sive, Jess Leen, Cari Q and Niamh Farrell joining Langford to proclaim in unison “I am strong as my bones”.
Highlights on the album include the aforementioned Birdsong, Sailor’s Wife & Mariana, but the standout composition is the album’s title track which commences with a perfectly judged sample of Vanessa Ifediora’s poem Off-White Sheets backed by delicate guitar, before it builds to a forceful chorus, with layered vocals and mesmerising drums, it is certainly Langford’s most complete song yet, full of uplifting energy that carries you along.
Elsewhere on the album there’s a candid riposte to a former romantic liaison, an elegant ode to a sadly departed family member, a gentle traditional interlude and a brief mantra – the short, but stirring A Song to My Younger Self.
While there are deeper issues addressed on the record ‘Sowing Acorns’ isn’t without its lighter moments perfectly showcasing the singer’s devilishly humorous side. Ready O is a fun tune, with a delicious throwback sound and pop/soul sensibilities. Firm favourite from her live set Goodbye Hawaii is given a production uplift here, which makes it more engaging than ever and Langford’s by now internationally famous mouth-trumpeting surely can’t help but raise a smile on even the most grim-faced listener.
Whilst the closing number You Are Not Mine is not only a classy album closer, but also has the brilliant and certainly not subtle subtitle – This Song isn’t About You, You Lying Bollix.
With the release of ‘Sowing Acorns’ Emma Langford has produced a collection and variety of songs that exhibit her polished songcraft which continues to develop with superb results.