Emma Ruth Rundle’s follow up to 2014 debut Some Heavy Ocean sees the LA native plumbing feelings of loss, defeat and self-destruction, insulating startlingly vulnerable moments with walls of frankness and noise. The production is adventurous, with its almost cinematic grandeur allowing the dark, hypnotic grunge guitars to boast vivid textures. Tracks repeatedly start as stirring murmurs before increasing in density and blooming into cascading barriers of noise. Protection is arguably the album’s finest moment, with a wordless chorus acting as the last line of defence and final catharsis for Rundle’s exposed and intense susceptibilities. Marked For Death consistently shows Rundle as a master when it comes to shaping vast soundscapes, with particular control over layering and density, and the correlation of this with the devastating probity of her lyrics results in some very potent moments. With its tidal grunge and Tori Amos likenesses, the record has a markedly nineties indebted feel to it. Marked For Death is concise, but often finds itself limited by its own rigor.
[FIRST PUBLISHED ON NO RIPCORD]