New release: Emeralds – Emeralds

Emeralds: Emeralds (re-issue)
Hanson (2010)

I thought it was just me who sensed some very Oneohtrix Point Never vibes about this self-titled Emeralds release, originally released as an LP but now re-issued in the trusty Compact Disc format. However, my Google investigations have shown me I’m not alone.

The comparison isn’t a bad thing by any means; it’s just that Emeralds is so tonally different to the band’s mesmerising What Happened record from last year. Which is weird because from what I can make out the two records were originally released in the same year. Anywho, Emeralds is very much about keyboards and electronics. Whizzing sci-fi melodies and Space Mountain theatrics. Track two, Geode is a prime example with its cheesy two-note synth line and warm bass pulse offset by clean but delayed guitars trickling out sparkling arpeggios. Halfway through, a Flanger effect kicks the keyboards into psychedelic warp speed and that’s when things really take on the almighty Oneohtrix Point Never vibe.

Overboard (Off the Deep End)
starts off in a similar fashion before veering into early Black Dice territory via bubbling electronics and other watery sounds; it blossoms into layers of vocal murmurings and then slowly fades away. The album’s high point comes in the 18 minute closer Passing Away which starts as a sorrowful, synthesised drone in the spirit of Infinite Body, awash with haunting siren calls, and then sparks up with some more Oneothrix keyboard action. At its peak Passing Away almost sounds like Genesis or some other 70’s prog rock freak out, but Emeralds cleverly close things out with the sound of waves lapping at a shoreline; a few moments of nature after such a synthetic but pleasant experience.

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