Album of the week: Florist – Emily Alone

Florist’s nature obsessed counterpart Adrianne Lenker, questioned whether we are part of the earth or simply observers of it on her solo album ‘abysskiss.’ Emily A Sprague, the songwriter behind Florist, is firmly in the former camp, “I am the ground” she declares on ‘Celebration.’ While Sprague is sure she’s part of the world, less sure is she of her role within it – a question she examines meticulously on ‘Emily Alone,’ a stunning self-exploration of all she is – her brain, her brawn and her blood.

 It’s a thought-path forged by Sprague’s move from New York to California. Finding herself away from collaborators and friends, she picked up her guitar and explored ‘the dark places between’ – recording alone under the Florist moniker for the first time.  What follows is otherworldly, a kind of sprawling nature that causes emotion to swell in your stomach before, like marauding ants, it spreads unrelentingly across your whole being.

Forever fluctuating between the prophetic and mundane, Florist brings both these charms together for the opening statement of intent, ‘What is my place in the world?’ – A question from opening track ‘As Alone’ that frames the entire theme of the record. She ponders the answers to this question over tiny yet impactful changes of her acoustic guitar, which jolts, ruminates and strums over the run time of ‘Emily Alone.’ The dark places in the background comprise of the quivering synths that make-up Florist’s ambient project, where she’s simply known by her birth name, Emily A Sprague.

Here, more than ever before, Florist has the words take centre stage, granting the world she’s navigated alone over the past year with its own lexicon. In moments she’s utterly banal, ‘I leave the windows open / So I can have a breeze’, and in other moments unafraid admit truths that many would hide from, “My life is only a combination of things / that I mostly have no control over / And it took me a long time to figure that out.” 

No matter how much she seeks though, Sprague fails to find the answer to her overriding question. By the end we find an artist in disbelief, “I can’t believe I’m real” she sings on ‘Ocean Arms.’ She asks the question simply out of curiosity, with no sense of ego intended, yet it’s in that god-like admiration you’ll view Sprague by the end of ‘Emily Alone.’ Asking yourself, how on earth do we share a planet with someone as talented and prophetic as Emily A Sprague? An icon. 

Emily Alone is out now on Double Double Whammy

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