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Album Reviews

Emma Gatrill – Cocoon

Emma Gatrill – Cocoon

After five years, Emma Gatrill is back with her second album Cocoon - an album which explores a range of feelings and topics all dealt with in a very touching, honest way. The Brighton-based musician gave us an insight into her songwriting ability on her debut Chapter 1. However, her songs have developed as well as her musical ability, making Cocoon a much bolder album. The songs are vast and delicate, and there’s a real sense of intimacy which comes through on the album: you can close your eyes and picture yourself watching her in a theatre.

A clear theme of the album is development and growth. There’s a lot of writing influenced by nature and the natural world and Gatrill has said the songs are inspired by walking around in the woodlands and watching the Brighton sea. These themes all come across in the album with every song having a natural beauty to it enhanced by an electronic influence in the production. There are elements of folk music within the songwriting, giving the album a tender feel which contrasts with the huge choruses making them all the more lush and dramatic.

Cocoon opens with its lead single ‘Skin’ which Gatrill describes as a love song that “explores our desire as individuals to be together even when life pulls us in different directions”. It’s a brilliant opener which gives a sense of everything to come. There’s a looped beat which is derived from the sound of feet scraping the floor, giving the track tension and setting the album’s tone very well. Cocoon then starts to blossom and open up.

‘Robin’ starts with a folky guitar and then develops into an incredibly theatrical piece and this continues to be a theme throughout. ‘Odd Ones Out’ and ‘Philomela’ are standout tracks. ‘Odd Ones Out’ starts with Gatrill’s brilliant harp playing and then evolves into something very dramatic and exciting. It contains one of those moments where you can picture a curtain lifting from behind Gatrill to reveal everything going on around the main components of the song.

‘Philomela’ shows off just how rich the songs are in texture. It’s a song which she herself describes as very dark and romantic, taking influence from Greek mythology. These mythological origins do come across very well, be it in the lyrics, the instrumentation or the production. Gatrill’s sound borrows elements of folk music to great effect and manages to project into the listener’s head the picture or the idea that she wants to create with each song.

‘Cast Out’ is the final track on the album. It was recorded live and the first take is the one we hear on the album. In her own words the song is about “feeling lost and misplaced, not knowing how things are going to turn out… often a glimmer of hope is enough to keep us going.” It’s this attitude that really comes across in the album. It’s finding the beauty in life and always a glimmer of hope no matter what.

Gatrill’s vocal delivery is something not to be overlooked in this album. She’s able to lend her voice to each song, each mood in a perfect way which always best serves the music. There’s no sense of over indulgence on the album. Although huge in ambition and spectacle, Gatrill’s songwriting and honesty keep the album grounded. The album is well and intuitively put together and the way it’s ordered gives the album a sense of exploration where each track complements its predecessor and lends itself to its successor.

Overall Cocoon shows just how much Gatrill has developed since her debut. She’s a songwriter who is starting to master her craft and this is just the beginning of her journey. There will be many more great things to come from her in the future I’m sure and it’s truly exciting to have her on our doorstep here in Brighton.
Chris Middleton

Website: emmagatrill.com
Facebook: facebook.com/emmagatrill
Twitter: twitter.com/EmmaGatrill



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