The 27 year old native to the Coachella Valley, Emily Brown, has promptly released her third studio album and it has found us like a little bird tensing for flight. Bee Eater is packed with a certain precision – one that both preserves and relinquishes the anxious romantics of being human in a beautifully poetic way. Produced by Colin Hatch and mastered by Jack Shirley of The Atomic Garden in Oakland, the album follows her preceding 2016 EP Emily Frown, for which she took a darker approach to writing.
Her music always lyrically driven, Bee Eater sheds past venoms, nestling deeply into the comfort of honest self-preservation. Much like the Bee-eater itself, Emily’s collection of work is characterized by its richly colorful plumage – each vocal, each stroke of key, each mounting lyric another feather in her musical cap. And with many alludes to our feathered companions, the ten track lineup takes to the sky, soaring and therapeutic.
Having confronted mental illness in the past, Emily bares her soul in a heartbreaking and truthful manner. A way that urges the listener along, grasping at the seeking fragments of confession and retrospect. Drawing from personal experience and a visceral literary tradition, the album becomes a power in its own right. Cushioned by melodies founded in chamber pop, bedroom rock, and her own poetic style of indie-folk, Emily’s songwriting prowess comes to fruition.
Bee Eater travels from those dreamy folk influences to buoyantly soft indie-pop, all the while laying down a chronicle of intimacies. It opens with track ‘That’s Not Me,’ Emily immediately setting herself apart from all the other girls. Holding firm against illusions of love, she echoes, “At least I am, who I say I am”. The restless tempo ascends on newly spread wings into the surrealism of tracks like ‘In My Dreams,’ where the haunting wistfulness of memories wanders on soft summer melodies, as if simulating a fairy tale.
Using music as a kind of kinesthetic therapy, Bee Eater is interwoven and cohesive. Ranging from those pensive, soft hues to more instrumentally heady, tempo-driven tracks, such as ‘Unseen Girl,’ ‘True Love’ and ‘Who Can Say.’ Though more playful additions to the album, there is still a hint of hesitation to each that carries the narrative along, whether it be in a hopefulness of what is to come, or a look into the past.
Traveling this road is heavy on your soles, to be sure; however, Emily doesn’t waver in her convictions, despite there being a track titled ‘Giving Up.’ As birds whistle in the background, the cinematic, piano-heavy number bleeds past poisons until all that is left is the stripped remains of time. ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Beautiful Baby’ are much the same, shedding misgivings and assigned identities. The former beautifully composed in vocables and strong melody, like a gem buried in her thoughts. “Tell me that you meant what you said, when you said you loved me still / I will love you, I always will,” she sings in the latter with a wrenching somberness that burrows into your heart and doesn’t easily let go.
The album comes to a conclusion with the tracks ‘Take Me Up Slowly’ and ‘Stay Lovin,’ two resoundingly intimate numbers that are both worthy and kind. “Stay lovin, oh darling, I feel the changing of the tide,” her voice quiet and lilting, she caps off her album with the same honesty and subsistence as it began with. Closing this chapter with a face turned towards the light, Bee Eater plays as if Emily is sitting next to you, relinquishing her heart for someone to finally keep.
‘Bee Eater’ is out now via Song Club Records – and is available to purchase on Bandcamp.