Emily Reo released her new album “Olive Juice” through Elestial Sound on September 3rd, 2013, and has been touring in support of it since August, concluding the tour in September on the west coast (for tour info, visit http://emilyreo.com/shows). She’s been honing her particular sound for several years now, and has distinguished herself from her contemporaries by striking a balance between the humble charm of lo-fi closet-recordings and the depth of something much more thoroughly planned and consciously crafted. The result is a record that is as enticing for its arrangement and songwriting, as it is for its aesthetic.
The title of the record is aptly placed to the music, which is immediately disarming and entrancing. The rickety Casio beats lend a pleasant sort of monotony to the album that gives it a cohesive feel, while a diverse enough approach to each individual melody delineates the somber incantation of “blue canoe” from the sunny, psychedelic haze of “Peach” . Warm synths envelope you in the whimsical melancholy of nostalgia, like reading through your own confused thoughts from pages of high school poetry underneath the comforters of a living room-fort. It establishes a very personal feeling of seclusion that permits the embarrassments of hindsight to melt away into something much gentler, and ultimately satisfying. Her songwriting instills a droning quality to the music, which she then builds into a much more subdued version of the wall-of-sound that bands like Ride and MBV utilized to bring their audiences to a blissful state of awe. The effective simplicity of this approach allows a lot of space for her personality to come out through the intonation and layering of her vocals, which fall somewhere between Dolores O’Riordan and Hope Sandoval, but with an endearing, slight southern twang.
Throughout “Olive Juice”, Emily seems possessed of both the tonal qualities as well as the musical formulas which transform the pitfalls and disasters of last year into follies and adventures recounted to the tune of endless laughter, and she brings it to a conclusion with her own take on an almost certain crowd-pleaser among her audience, Built to Spill’s “Car”. The resulting album is a very engaging effort from start to finish, with an emotional range wide enough to feel right whether you’re on your way to the beach or just watching a rainy day go by.