THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “One of the most underrated British songwriters to emerge from the era that encompassed shoegaze and Britpop, Lush co-founder Emma Anderson has teamed up with producer James Chapman (aka Maps) for her debut solo album — a collection that combines effervescent electronic pop, psych and folk textures with lyrics covering themes such as confronting your fears, embracing independence and moving on in life.
It arrives fully formed with a burnished beauty (aided by the mastering skills of Heba Kadry) that belies its somewhat protracted creation, which began with Emma feeling disillusioned after Lush’s 2016 reunion came to an abrupt end. Left with songs and bits of music originally intended for the band, she began working with cellist and string arranger Audrey Riley and Robin Guthrie, formerly of Cocteau Twins, both of whom encouraged her to sing her own songs. Covid put a temporary halt on proceedings, but the decision had been made.
When she met Chapman at the start of 2022, Pearlies quickly took shape and blossomed into a perfect mix of Emma’s incredible, idiosyncratic songwriting and James’ electronic production — aided by a little extra guitar magic on four tracks courtesy of Richard Oakes from Suede. The finished album has somehow written its own narrative. By her own admission, Emma tends to write words and “see what comes out”, but Pearlies seems to tell the story of her decision to go it alone, with opener I Was Miles Away posing the thought: “See if I make it on my own.”
The rest of the album provides the answer as it takes in everything from the unexpectedly funky first single Bend The Round, to folky finger-picking and film theme references, via psych leaning electronic pop reminiscent of Goldfrapp or Melody’s Echo Chamber. It concludes with Clusters, a stunning, Stereolab-style groove which begins with the line “and now the party’s over, the music’s at the end.” Thankfully, that is not the case. This incredible album is just the start of Emma’s long-awaited solo journey.”