HomeMusicEmily Masson Releases Follow-up Album

    Emily Masson Releases Follow-up Album

    Emily Masson’s second album Lost at Home widens the scope of her 2021 debut Twenty-First Century Mood without ever losing the intimacy of that release. She refuses to allow anyone to pigeonhole her into a musical corner and underpins the far-ranging artistry of the album’s eleven songs with a personal touch. It’s nakedly autobiographical, she’s definitely no stranger to the singer/songwriter style, but Masson’s talent for applying her personal experiences to the full range of listeners’ experiences guides her songs at every turn.

    “Lost at Home” delivers on that promise. She writes about existential dislocation with a keen eye and the repetition laden throughout the lyrics does not weary me. It drives the song’s mood home without ever sounding redundant. The Colorado-based songwriter benefits from the finest local musicians playing her music and their layered sympathetic backing is the song’s crowning achievement. The light atmospherics of “Become the One” supplies an intelligent change of pace from the album’s opening duo. Masson’s stylish vocals are never ornamental but, instead, evoke the same mood as the music. She has a smoky vibe, never rushed, and the lyrics are among the album’s best.

    The percussion has a similar tilt for the song “Her Every Way”. Atmospherics return as well, but this time focus more on the singing than the instrumentation. It’s a track with a plaintive feel, unadorned by meaningless tinsel, and the emotive edge present in the performance never sounds forced. “Life Begins Again” is one of my favorite songs on the release. Guest guitar player AJ Fullerton isn’t omnipresent in the song, but he provides a sharp and welcome musical edge that distinguishes it from the other material. It’s an archetypal Masson song for this release, thoughtful, deliberate without ever sounding paint-by-numbers, and brimming with a vibrant interior world that listeners are invited to share.

    She upends listeners’ expectations, teaching them to not get too comfortable, with the track “Broken Shells”. It’s a cutting look at a specific facile personality type and she shows the right amount of restraint while still not pulling punches. The rhythm section of drummer Mike Beck and bass player Levi Brown shine bright as well. The slow bluesy swing of “Mother Nature Cries” is another mild surprise following the album’s first half and Masson underlines its mood with a soulful vocal. Mike Beck’s drums captured my attention yet again.

    “Our Eyes Are Wide” may have a narrow audience, in some ways, but open-minded listeners will relate. It’s human, at its core, rather than tailored for a small group of listeners. There’s an undercurrent of rage that she never fully exploits and holding back increases the song’s tension. Masson has a slight Patti Smith-esque edge to her voice that older fans will appreciate. It’s one of the album’s longer tracks but never tests your patience.

    The brains and passion burning behind these songs are obvious. Emily Masson hasn’t contented herself with variations on a theme from her first album but, instead, comes across as committed to continued songwriting growth. It makes her second album Lost at Home a must-listen for anyone interested in first-class songwriting. 

    Trace Whittaker

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