10: Emeralds – Just To Feel Anything
Emeralds’ previous album, Does It Look Like I’m Here?, blew me away in 2010 and introduced me to so many fantastic artists – Mark McGuire in particular, but also Steve Hauschildt (who released the excellent Tragedy & Geometry in 2011 and the rather odd Sequitur this year), Mist, Motion Sickness of Time Travel and probably several others one way or another. So it would be fair to say I was rather excited about Emeralds releasing a new album this year. Just To Feel Anything is a funny beast, in a way. For one thing, it’s surprisingly short at about 40 minutes – for a band that had never seemed to rein-in excess. Also striking is how far they’ve come since 2009’s What Happened, an avant-garde collage of improvised drone and abstract noise (not my thing at all). Just To Feel Anything, on the other hand, is very easy to listen to, alternating between languid, beatless synth-scapes and downright bouncy, drum-machine-backed synth-and-guitar anthems. All a bit – whisper-it-quietly – new age, wholly un-shame-faced in its aim and all the more likeable for it.