Ever since Amy Winehouse blasted everyone back to the smoky backrooms of 60s R&B clubs, there’s been no shortage of soul revivalists. Some, like Adele, have tapped into this well with big success. And others have made a bit of a splash and then just kind of disappeared (anyone remember Duffy?).
Thankfully, all signs on “The Sun & the Blues” point towards Emma King becoming a success story. Her honeyed vocals complement the smooth backing band as they provide a 4 track tour of lush soundscapes and perfectly composed songs, made possible thanks to the surroundings of the legendary Sun Studios.
The EP begins with the gorgeous “All the Other Fools”, a soothing ballad of heartbreak. The piano glides along with the tight backing band as King’s voice soars throughout. There’s also enough modern production touches keeping it from turning into a pleasant copy of the classics it emulates. “Rolling In”, with its cascading chords and rolling guitar notes provides a light background for its tales of infidelity after a big night out. The song’s structure has a very Motownfeel to it, contrasting with its less-than-glamorous subject matter.
“Break the Mould” has a groovier mood than the other tracks, with its heavy bass licks and low sax touches. And to fully show off King’s versatility, “WildThings” has a more modern indie sound. Its jangly guitars are straight from the Johnny Marr chord book. King’s rising vocals have a folk-rock tinge, with an earthier tone that highlights her skills. Overall, “The Sun & the Blues” is a perfect showcase for a performer who is much more than meets the eye.