"Worth The Rush" by In Emerald SeaReview
In May 2021, I reviewed the debut single, called "A Friend" by In Emerald Sea within an hour of being aware of either its existence or that of the band (it later appeared on ‘Hot Music Live Presents Volume Seven') and now the follow-up, "Worth The Rush" is available for pre-sale ahead of its release on 27th October. (Such is the gap since "A Friend" that the two will be coupled in the release to remind you of its qualities.)
This is one of those bands which is chiefly the vehicle for the creativity of one person: in this case Callum Mckissock (also well known to readers from bands such as Brass Hip Flask & River of the Dog) but this time he's gone even further: "A Friend" also featured 'cello, synths, brass, piano & percussion by its producer Chris Field in addition to Callum's vocals, bass & guitar: this time it's 100% pure Callum. In fact after some reflection, he decided against his initial instincts to ask someone else to mix & master it & went with his own considerable skills in thoes areas.
Gentler & more intimate than its predecessor (it's good to signal your range early in your band's career), nevertheless they share the characteristic being obviously highly personal songs: it's apparent that Callum needs this avenue for such material as his other bands are not quite as suitable for his heart to be this prominently displayed on his sleeve.
Not that such prominence of his deeper feelings is necessarily manifested in overt or functional language: Callum works across several artistic media of which music is only one and one might detect a reflection of his painting approach in the impressionism of his lyrics. If that seems a little too far to you, they are certainly more poetic than prose orientated.
This applies to his words for his songs in all his bands, but for In Emerald Sea pieces, this is especially appropriate perhaps. This time the central theme is both admirably clear and contemporary: linking emotional communication hitches to losing phone signals when the train you're on enters a tunnel. This naturally enables accessibility for the listener & ironically the connection between Callum and his audience is stronger than between the protagonists being sung about.
However that's merely the start and once the listener is drawn in, they then need to process the more abstruse parts of the message themselves. There is plenty on breakdowns in communication, but also apparently on the alienation effects of distance (both physical & emotional). Most songs of this nature also tend to emphasise a desire to repair & reconnect, but there seems a pessimism here as if the narrator has given up and will neither make an effort themselves nor wish the other party to try.
Another attribute common to his various incarnations is Callum's apparent disdain for flabby arrangements. He clearly feels less is better and tells his stories with greater clarity, preferring as few instruments as necessary and then wringing the most out of those using the technique he possesses as do his collaborators. "Worth The Rush" is not a particularly sparse track: there aren't too many elements on there (and each does its fair share of work and can be heard really clearly) but he certainly makes the most of what he has on his palette this time round: some offer persistent and insistent patterns: others pop in to offer variation & emphasis and then slip away as quickly as they arrived.
This song requires your attention & then repays it fully.