EMA — The Future’s Void (Matador/City Slang)
One of the last lines on Erika M. Anderson’s debut as EMA was “if you won’t love me, someone will." One of the last lines on The Future’s Void is “who can judge us, who can love us?" The distance from one to the other, both bigger and smaller than it appears at first, is as good a way as any to sum up what Anderson has accomplished here. But there’s a reason written-down song lyrics tend to make lousy poetry; performance is what gives them their heft. The line from Past Life Martyred Saints’ “Red Star” is sung with the bruised doggedness of someone who isn’t so much convinced she’s telling the truth as she is willing to make it the truth by sheer force of will (that the sentiment expressed is-or-ought-to-be such a basic truth just makes it a little more heartbreaking). “Dead Celebrity,” on the other hand, ends The Future’s Void calmly, maybe even a bit distantly.