Music Reviews
Emily Alone

Florist Emily Alone

(Double Whammy) Rating - 7/10

In any form of art, honesty and truth are mostly offered with some degree of verisimilitude. And Florist's Emily Sprague may have imagined some of the solemn moments tucked in her third album, but the album title is open and unashamed: Emily Alone. It also rings true—the L.A. via Brooklyn singer-songwriter relocated from her city, and her bandmates, to write in true isolation after a painful breakup and her mother's premature death. Despite Sprague's usually intimate recordings, the change in location does sound like a true solo effort—with only an acoustic guitar and a keyboard by her side.

Sprague's twelve compositions are spare, elegant but not too intricate. Her whispered vocals flutter over subtle variations in tempo and tone, reflecting on themes like death (Moon Begins), depression (Time is a Dark Feeling), and the persistence of memory (Ocean Arms). On occasion, she'll intersperse field recordings into her melodies, like on Celebration, where the sound of twittering birds adds a sense of openness to her ruminative spoken word. These compositions not only take from her perspective, but she fully embodies them, to the point where we're sometimes not sure if we should be listening to such personal thoughts.

It may sound as if Sprague is too involved in her own feelings and concerns, which may test the patience of anyone who's not particularly interested in finding commonality with her needs and expectations. But she sounds committed to her arrangements first and foremost, balancing her genuine sentiments with the use of natural imagery—a motif she carries throughout Emily Alone that brings a healing effect. So the way Sprague communicates is not as direct as you might think. She leaves enough open spaces to invite some speculation and creative faculty, but by all accounts, this is the story she had to tell during this period in her life.