It almost feels like a cliche at this point, but Emma Hallows is yet another migrant to the ever popular acoustic music scene. Having spent years playing in different bands, she opted to go solo and it seems like it’s worked out for the best. This latest career diversion has seen her playing shows with, UK favourites, Great Cynics and Sam Russo. She even managed to catch the attention of, Loved Ones frontman, Dave Hause, playing a show with him just a few months ago. Not bad going if you ask me.
How Emma managed to record an EP amongst all of that is beyond me. What’s more is that it’s really good. This is far from a “quick, chuck a few tracks together and get it out there” kind of thing. There’s actually been a lot of care and attention put into the production of this record, and whilst it didn’t always work out (see: the electric guitar in ‘Brian and Jane) the addition of a few subtle handclaps or the rattling of a tambourine, in collaboration with Emma’s voice and the sound of her acoustic, make all the difference.
Emma is fantastic and is one of the most unique voices I’ve heard of late, and it helps her stand out from her peers. It’s quite low, but that really works in her favour: I doubt that a lot of the sentiment carried in her, at times, dark lyrics would come across as well if it wasn’t for the way she sings them. Songs based on life’s hardships rarely work if the person singing them is really upbeat. Speaking of her lyrics, for me, they might be the best part of the Anchors Up! package. They’re so easy to relate to, and some of the wordplay is brilliant. Each song is like a little story, and there’s a distinct Gaslight Anthem influence here. That’s certainly not a bad thing.
Anchors Up! is a collection of four brilliant songs that you’ll find it hard not to love. They’re simple songs that are incredibly true to life, each one revealing a little about the person behind them. It might not hit the mark every time, but it’s pretty close.