Friday, March 30, 2018

Band Review: Emilie Autumn

Going in order, I should have reviewed Zelena Hull last Thursday and Stever yesterday, but it looked like there might be some similarity of content between Karen Stever and Emilie Autumn, who had been recommended in the same Shakesville thread that led me to Ana Tijoux. I switched the order around to make sure that I could keep each artist separate and give them their due attention.

I wouldn't even mention that, except that it stands out because while there are some similar Gothic elements and transformational themes and diversity of media between Stever and Autumn, I couldn't enjoy it with Stever but I love it with Autumn because she is electrifying.

Emilie Autumn does a lot of different things. She plays classical violin, as can be heard on Laced/Unlaced. She is a poet, and reads her poetry on Your Sugar Sits Untouched. Her stage performances incorporate cabaret and burlesque. She has also written a novel, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, for which the title alone may give you an idea of her overall aesthetic.

I am mainly reviewing her as a musician, though. Musically, from the beginning of "Fight Like A Girl" I was electrified, with a strong continuation in "One Foot in Front of the Other".

There are other songs where you can glean ideas of what her stage act might be like. On "Girls! Girls! Girls!" (nothing like Mötley Crüe's song of the same name) Autumn at times takes on the role of a carnival barker, though a remarkably mellifluous one. Many songs display a caustic wit, especially on "Prick! Goes the Scorpion's Tale". Songs like "What If" and "Gaslight" are delicately beautiful.

But what I will keep coming back to is the energy of "Fight Like a Girl" and the resigned pathos of  "One Foot in Front of the Other. Together they convey the glory and the toll of fighting misogyny. Those themes are present in other songs, but those two encapsulate a lot, and make a good starting point.

The angst is real, and occasionally feral, which I am sure could turn off some (taking any stand against misogyny at all is a turn off for some), but there is so much good, so much beauty, and so much power overall, that I hope many people will be encouraged to check out Emilie Autumn.

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