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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Phil Mongredien

Emma Anderson: Pearlies review – intriguing and subtle reinvention

Emma Anderson sitting on a long hard sofa, an electric guitar propped up next to her
‘Like Goldfrapp at their most dreamlike’: Emma Anderson. Photograph: Jeff Pitcher

During the 1990s, Lush were prominent figures in first shoegaze and later Britpop, but never quite converted critical acclaim into massive commercial success. After a reunion fizzled out in 2016, co-frontwoman (alongside Miki Berenyi) Emma Anderson carried on working on some of the songs that she had planned to share and develop with her bandmates. The result is her debut solo album.

However, whereas Anderson’s work in Lush – and, indeed, her later Sing-Sing project – was very much guitar-centred, Pearlies is firmly rooted in electronic pop (although Suede’s Richard Oakes does contribute guitar on four tracks). It makes for an intriguing listen: her songwriting style is clearly recognisable, but thanks in part to producer James Chapman, the execution sounds more like Goldfrapp at their most dreamlike. It’s not an immediate listen, but the subtle melodies that abound in the likes of Bend the Round, the hypnotic Clusters and the more folk-inflected Willow and Mallow work their magic on repeated plays. It’s a successful enough reinvention for Anderson surely to be wondering why she didn’t make a solo record sooner.

Watch the video for Clusters by Emma Anderson.
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