Release Date: Jan 29, 2016
Record label: Lefse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
Promise -- the eighth collection of songs from Emily Wells, but only the second to appear on a label of some prominence -- trades on atmosphere as much as it does songs, unfolding as methodically as a fog settling into the early morning hours. Wells isn't naturally chilly but there is a deliberate distance that's artificially heightened, a slight icy shimmer that's warmed by the passion of Wells' voice, an instrument that warms the cold contours of her productions and hints at the emotion lurking underneath the slow melodic tow of her songs. At its heart, Promise comprises torch songs, but these aren't necessarily odes to love lost.
Emily Wells‘ third album is not an easy one to drop into. Like her previous records, The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties, and Mama, Promise is dense, at times impenetrable and often dream-like. While it’s not exactly inaccessible, it’s certainly not commercial. Wells herself has said that it’s the sort of album that people have to invest time into listening to it.
New York by-way-of Texas singer-songwriter Emily Wells has ignored traditional genre boundaries right from the beginning. From her earliest self-produced albums through her most recent, she incorporates electronic music, hip-hop, the blues, and even elements of classical into her skeletal folk arrangements, making for a spontaneous and sometimes unpredictable experience. On Promise, Wells continues threading those influences into her music, but mostly trades out folk music in favor of a more classical approach.
Emily Wells named her new album “Promise” in the belief that nothing else is so easily broken. Her dramatic, meticulous and gothic songs describe enticements that twist into admonishments, and everything seems to be slipping out of her hands. “If I were to love you, really really love you,” she sings in “Light Is Drainin,” over a ghostly sigh of strings, “I would surely lose you.” Ms.