ATP! Album Review: Emily Wolfe - Roulette (EP)
The tracks off Roulette are sure to impress the audience at SXSW 2015, where Wolfe is slated to play. With similar (but not quite the same) artists like Lorde, Banks and Halsey snowballing in popularity, Wolfe has landed in a sweet spot where huge success is reachable, if cards are played right.
That said, it’s doubtful Wolfe would struggle to make it big even if the aforementioned artists hadn’t “paved the way” – Wolfe would simply become the trailblazer herself. After previous releases rooted in her songwriting and an acoustic sound, like 2013’s Mechanical Hands, Wolfe hit 2014 hard with a new single, “Swoon.”
Easily one of the best songs on Roulette, “Swoon” is an incredibly sexy song with a snappy beat that makes it hard to stop your feet from moving. The lush, guitar-driven track is a happy partnership between Wolfe’s gritty acoustic style and a darker, deeper sound, thanks to the addition of a full band.
Wolfe’s work is textured – a little dark, a little light; a little rock, a little jazz; a dash of pop and synth. Roulette is slick and clean without being too spotless, full of raw emotions and big choruses that beg for a sing-along. “Marionette,” in particular, reaches into a sensitive part, with lyrics that tell the story of being stuck, tied down like a marionette with strings and controlled by someone else’s hand.
“Violent Veins” makes particularly good use of guitar and bass, with opening riffs too good to be true. The drum line pulls the listener in and accents Wolfe’s half-sweet, half- husky vocals. With its dramatic rise, sensual chorus and head-banging beat, “Ghost Limb” is another strong contender off Roulette.
Wolfe’s solid songwriting, mastery of the careful balance between hard and soft, and easily identifiable vocals make Roulette a winner. Her music is complex, yet radio friendly, and Wolfe is clearly packed to the brim with talent. Undoubtedly, Emily Wolfe is certainly one to watch.
- Words by Tori Mier