Erika M. Anderson first graced the limelight under the guise of EMA in 2011 when her brilliantly scuffed debut album was released to a multitude of acclaim. Now she returns with The Future’s Void which is set for release tomorrow, April 7, via City Slang, seeking to deal with the fact that certain ideas that once seemed futuristic are now the norm. It straddles the ugly and animalistic, the pretty and civilized and the past and present, resulting in a quality piece of timeless work. And like any great punk record, it questions social convention and rebels against the status quo.
The Future’s Void starts with the previously released Satellites. Satellites introduces you to some of the new album’s metaphysical themes, of struggling to understand where we fit in the digital age and where we are all headed. Satellites explores the places where everyone has equal access but is also under constant surveillance: “We fought the wars with information. Outer space seems very cold.”
Track two So Blonde is very Veruca Salt inspired in terms of the vocals. It has a great rock drum beat giving it that attitude to pull of those strong, female vocals. The chorus, “Let me tell you about this girl I know/She’s so blonde…” will get stuck on repeat in your head leaving you wanting more.
EMA recently revealed 3Jane as her new single. She said about the track: “Did you know Facebook just bought the company that makes the Oculus Rift? The VR headset I am wearing on the cover of The Future’s Void? People ask me about themes of paranoia on the record but obviously I am not the only one with dystopian dreams of our plugged-in future.
“No one was really ever that mean to me on the internet. I never had that ‘thing’ that happens when you wake up one morning and somehow your life is ruined because a mortifying picture goes viral or a funny tweet becomes horribly misread. Sure, there were bitchy things in the comments of videos but organised trolls never unleashed a wave of death threats on me, and only a few people suggested that I kill myself.
“So the internet never actually did that to me. But it did that to somebody. And now we all have this stupid crippling fear that someday it will happen to us. And the likelihood increases as you move from relative obscurity to becoming more broadly visible on the internet. There are more cameras on you, more chances to be quoted saying something stupid and more people out there who relish seeing successful people disgraced and dethroned.”
EMA has called 3Jane the lyrical centre piece of The Future’s Void and she is 100% right. It’s a sombre, ballad track which shows EMA’s softer vocals and range. The song is about the overuse of the internet in people expressing their emotions and unleashing the details of their personal life, “There should be a law where they can’t take videos of you/Of you/Of you/Of you/Of you/Feel like I blew my soul out across the interweb and screamed/It was a million pieces of silver and I watched them gleam/It left a hole so big inside of me/And I get terrified that I will never get back to me/To me/To me/To me/I guess it’s just a modern disease”. 3Jane is a thought provoking song which discusses how social media is taking over. It speaks about it being a “big advertising campaign” which relates to the idea that social media is becoming a powerful tool for the music industry to promote not only music but celebrity personas which ultimately help to sell the music – the idea of celebrity culture. It expresses the idea that EMA and other musicians may feel vulnerable that their life is displayed on the internet for all to see as a way for PR companies to sell their products.
Cthulu is a favourite track from the album. EMA’s vocals are screechy on the chorus keeping true to her punk style. Her vocals on Cthulu are strong and sexy, they will send shivers down your spine. It’s the really powerful and enthused vocals that carry this song.
Neuromancer begins with a tribal drum beat which builds the drama and excitement. It’s totally captivating from the word go. It’s such an unusual introduction to a track which is what makes it so utterly brilliant. Everything about this song draws you in. The chorus, “I’m not lucifier/But I will survive” demonstrates the strong female character EMA has.
When She Comes is a much gentler and soft acoustic track. EMA’s vocals shine through once again on this track, they’re given a chance to breathe. As this song is so completely different from tracks like Satellites and Neuromancer, it shows EMA’s diversity as an artist. When She Comes doesn’t sound like it belongs on the same record as any of the other track. It’s a breath of fresh air perfectly placed towards the end of the album.
The Future’s Void shows that EMA has come a long way since her previous album release, Past Life Martyred Saints. The Future’s Void shows a level of maturity in both subject and musical abilities. It comprises of a much more sophisticated sound. The vocals are stronger, solid and oozing with more confidence. EMA has produced a varied and captivating album that’s hard to place within a genre. It’s an album with a politically orientated stance on a very current issue and an issue which is proving to bother more people than first thought. There’s intelligence in the lyrics and sophistication in the music making it simply superb.
EMA’s The Future’s Void will be released tomorrow, April 7, via City Slang.