Gig review: Emmy The Great at Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Emma-Lee Moss '“ better known by her stage name Emmy The Great '“ is the slightly geeky girl that you always wanted to befriend at school.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 1:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 1:22 pm
Emmy The Great
Emmy The Great

With lyrics that reference Bliss magazine and snippets of S-Club 7’s Reach being sung, the London based singer-songwriter would never pass as cool. Her cultural reference points are, nonetheless, entirely relatable for people of a certain generation.

It’s this audience connection that saw her enjoying early success on the anti-folk scene, with tracks such as ‘We Almost Had A Baby’ and ‘First Love’ bringing a diary-entry articulacy and humour that distinguished her from more earnest peers.

The strength of this bond is such that her fans remained faithful throughout a five-year break from the industry, Moss only recently returning with third album Second Love. This saw her turning her attention to folk-tronic pop that feels like a natural progression rather than contrived scene chasing.

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‘Swimming Pool’, which signposted the musical sea-change, is a beautifully atmospheric track that has shades of School Of Seven Bells’ electronic shoe-gaze. More reflective of her new sound, however, are ‘Less Than Three’ and ‘Algorithm’; their use of bass synth and pre-programming recalling an Earl Grey-drinking Poliça.

The success of this sound is evident when she returns to her roots for the four-track encore, appearing solo on her electric guitar. ‘Paper Forest (In The Afterglow Of Rapture)’ and ‘Two Steps Forward’ sound sweetly nostalgic, yet in comparison with her new material they’re slightly gauche and lacking in self-assurance.

This was, of course, always part of their charm. Yet as she continues her musical development it promises to be a case of ‘First Love’ good, Second Love great, and third love greatest.