Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Terry Emm Is Back With Melancholic Masterpiece ‘Island Soul’

When Terry Emm released his debut album ‘White Butterflies’ in 2009, there seemed to be no limit to the type of career the singer-songwriter from Hertfordshire could enjoy. With backing from both BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music and a Mojo review that referred to his first full-length effort as ‘Outstanding’, Emm must have truly felt that musical success was firmly within his grasp. 

It is by no means a slight on the musician that his career might not have panned out the way he wished, more an acknowledgement of the cynical and relentless beast that is the music business. And on the other hand, as a musician it has done Emm no harm, he has churned out consistent and often mesmerising releases, with his latest single ‘Island Soul’ being no different. 

The track opens with both male and female falsetto harmonies as Emm is joined on vocals by Maz O’Connor, immediately transporting the listener to a sunshine-soaked state of mind. The soft drums, major bass lines and sprinkles of organ only emphasise the positive nature of the song’s introduction.  

Yet, as is often the case with Emm’s output, the song offers far more than what you would first assume, and ‘Island Soul’ is no different as the chorus plunges into a minor key change. The sudden switch in direction isn’t jarring however, as the singer's pained vocal delivery style serves to gently guide the listener into the emotional centrepiece of the song. “You’ve been living on an island too long” and “Your souls felt like an island so long” he moans in his trademark style, where the soft and melancholic conveyance cannot hide a sense of anguish that only accentuates the gravity of the song’s themes.  

‘Island Soul’ is the third single taken off Emm’s upcoming album ‘Wish You Were Here’. It will mark a return for the singer after 9 years since his last full-length EP and if the singles released so far are anything to go by, Terry Emm is back at his best. 

James Ogden 

Image: ‘Island Soul’ Official Single Cover 

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