Wednesday, July 1, 2009

EMMA DEAN: "Real Life Computer Game"

Label: Doily Records
Distribution: MGM
Year Of Release: 2008
Producers: Emma Dean & Ben Stewart

Personnel: Emma Dean (Keyboards and Vocals), John Turnbull (Bass), Dane Pollock (Guitar), Anthony Dean (Drums and Backing Vocals), Ben Stewart (Backing Vocals),


1. Waiting Room
2. Real Life Computer Game
3. Most of the Time
4. Sorry
5. Get What You Paid For
6. Orange Red
7. Addicted To ...
8. Cocaine
9. Henry
10. End Of The Table
11. Dry Land
12. Could this mean if everyone is alone we're together? In the way that we're all together alone?

Intelligent female pop music in Australia is not exactly a crowded field, but for that matter Emma Dean is a very crowded and multi-coloured renaissance woman. Being a theatre performer, music teacher, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist she is every much in a class of her own despite the many hats she proudly wears.
Starting out fresh from the Brisbane Conservatorium as a jazz student having excelled in piano and violin, she formed her own act Bittersuite which she worked in from 2002 - 2005 and collaborated with Kate Miller-Heidke and the physical theatre troupe Zen Zen Zo before she finally decided to proclaim herself as a performer in her own right.
The last few years have been summed up in the intriguingly titled debut album "Real Life Computer Game". Her vocals are sensual and sultry, but at the same time with an authoritative 'don't fuck with me cos I've been there and done it before' rock attitude.
Every song on the album is a wonderfully crafted gem with the soft and lilting opener 'Waiting Room' that starts peacefully then explodes into a theatrical rocker towards the end, the pizzacato-ish waltz and triangle filled 'Sorry', the Lisa Loeb-ish 'Orange Red' (which came No.2 in the Courier Mail's People's Choice songs this year), the tearjerking and despondent 'Henry', the frantic piano led thrash of the harrowing 'Cocaine' about muck-raking internet journalists who spread rumours about her alleged drug use, and the boppy pomp rock stomp of the title track with quirky harmonies and biting guitar licks (which I personally think should have been saved for the last track). Speaking of which, the final track is the unsuccint "Could This Mean If Everyone Is Alone We're Together? in The Way That We're All Together Alone" in which she demonstrates her vocal acrobatics in a homage to her best friend Angie Miles.
If you like the quirky dark sophistication of acts like 10cc, Sparks and Dresden Dolls together with the cool and collected rock princesses like Kate Bush, Bjork, Danielle Dax, Fiona Apple, and Kate Nash then Emma Dean is definitely worth checking out not only as a recording artist but as one of Brisbane's most exciting and captivating performers of this decade.
This is a dangerously catchy and dramatic album that demands your attention with so much more than meets the ear every time you hear it, it's one of those rare albums that repays repeated listening.


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