Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back

This will be a pretty quick and easy post. Last Friday, Emma Ruth Rundle released a three-song EP consisting of leftover tracks from her Engine Of Hell sessions. The collection is called Orpheus Looking Back and is available digitally, Emma has stated on social media that she does not know of any plans for a physical release.

It’s interesting to hear what got left off of the album. Engine Of Hell was my number two on my list of Albums of 2021. It was a minimal, stark effort that brought difficult themes to life instead of being sometimes hidden behind the music of past albums.

The three songs here are in keeping with the style of Engine Of Hell. It is Emma singing along to sparse instrumentation. Two feature a guitar and one has a pump organ. I will let you all guess which song has the pump organ.

Emma Ruth Rundle – Orpheus Looking Back

Released March 25, 2022 via Sargent House Records

The EP kicks off with Gilded Cage. The song has a kind of Celtic folk vibe or something, it’s a bit exotic. It seems to depict some struggle between being “like them” and feeling the rage to transcend. Emma’s singing on the track recalls Dolores O’Riordan, who I suspect is an influence on Emma’s work (sort of confirmed, I don’t know, she doesn’t tell me things). The song is very nicely done and is also over before you know it at a 2:36 runtime.

Up next is the Pump Organ Song. It is Emma and a pump organ, exactly as advertised. The song is a bleak recount of some lost love or episode. It is a little hard to tell as the work feels unfinished, but what was established here is a nice piece. I’m hopeful that Emma will use the organ again in the future as there is plenty she could do with it.

The final track on this collection is St. Non. It’s one more light, minimal number that feature’s Emma and a guitar. Non is a real saint, I had to look it up as I’m way more up on band lineups or baseball rosters than I am my saints. The song is a very quiet and honestly sweet one that does feel a bit against the grain of the more harsh vibe of the Engine Of Hell album.

All three of the songs fit the vibe of the album they were part of the session of but also aren’t quite as fleshed-out as the works on the record. Orpheus Looking Back is a nice piece to have as a further window into the Engine Of Hell sessions. It’s also very nice to end a post before the first page is filled, I don’t often get a chance to do that.

Orpheus Looking Back is available on Bandcamp and other digital platforms.

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