tue 16/07/2024

Album: Emma Anderson - Pearlies | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Emma Anderson - Pearlies

Album: Emma Anderson - Pearlies

The solo debut of the co-founder of Lush is a delight

Emma Anderson's 'Pearlies': brim-full of gems

Well, this is lovely. Pearlies opens with “I Was Miles Away”, a puffball of a sonic cloud which marries twinkling electronica with guitar-led shoegazing. It has a familial resemblance with the sort of thing perfected by Sweden’s I Break Horses, but lacks the frostiness. Here, there is a glow akin to that of a fire’s embers. Next, the vaguely bossa nova-ish and similarly exquisite “Bend the Round”.

Emma Anderson was one-half of the front-line of Lush and her contemplative yet instant first solo album is brim-full of such gems. Take, at random, “Xanthe” with its giallo soundtrack undertone. What’s feeding into it isn’t hidden, but the balance between golden-brown autumnal moodiness and the love of an immediate melody is a defining characteristic.

There is an unavoidable backstory. “Every single game you play, it’s over, it’s over,” sings Anderson during “Taste the Air”. It’s tempting to read this as an oblique comment on 2016’s short-lived reunion of her old band Lush. They formed in 1987 and formally broke up in 1998. From 1997 she had been with Sing-Sing, who split in 2007. Lush reunited in 2015. After this there were live dates and the release of one EP – and then, late 2016’s sudden curtailment.

Pearlies represents a belated, albeit reconfigured, continuation of what the Lush reunion might have evolved into had it been given time. Of that sundered assembly, Anderson says she “thought we were in it for the long term, so some of these songs – or even just parts of them – were actually going to be for Lush.”

However, and despite these connections, Pearlies does not sound like a Lush album. The multi-faceted album’s producer is James Chapman, best known for his electronica-slanted Maps guise, and Suede’s Richard Oakes contributes guitar to five tracks but Anderson’s own identity is foremost. A very welcome return.


The balance of autumnal moodiness with immediate melodies is a defining characteristic of ‘Pearlies’


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters