Emma Pollock charmed us with her blithe indie-pop on 2007’s Watch The Fireworks, but don’t expect more of the same on the former Delgados singer’s second album, The Law Of Large Numbers. A bit more esoteric and challenging, but equally entertaining and perhaps more rewarding, The Law Of Large numbers features a more dynamic and expansive sound.
With husband and ex-Delgado Paul Savage producing, Pollock promised a more personal outing and it shows. In between the piano tones of the short, bookend tracks “Hug the Piano (And)” and “Hug the Piano (Or)”, are ten tracks that not only recall her previous band’s atmospheric indie-rock, but also reveals influences ranging from the cabaret-punk of Amanda Palmer, the sultry poetics of Tori Amos, and the sweet power-pop of the New Pornographers. The highlight of which is Pollock’s especially winsome voice acting as the glue that holds it all together. That and the original songwriting and charismatic flavor in which the songs are presented.
But can a mathematical theorem be applied to songwriting? The mathematical theorem of the law of large numbers deals with the outcome of a repeated simple experiment with equal probabilities, such as rolling a dice, and it’s comparison with the theoretically predicted result. Pollock applies this mindset to her songwriting and proposes “It’s all about risk and expectation, and the human race’s unwillingness to accept the random nature of events. There’s a lot of beauty in mathematics and the natural world; it’s all tied in with the wonder of things that are beyond our control.”
This philosophy is expressed in the varied tunes on the album through the tense and brooding guitar rock, the playful indie-pop, and the grizzled piano-rock wrapped up in stylistic pop tunes and played with an energetic enthusiasm forming vibrant tunes that pack some power and buzz. Pollock uses her distinctive voice in such a way that it sounds both pretty and hauntingly surreal at the same time creating emotional songs with a layered and attractive sound.
The numerous instruments, varied influences and genre-hopping arrangements on The Law Of Large Numbers, along with Pollock’s own musical talents, results in some emotive indie-rock whose repeated plays will be justified and rewarded.
RIYL: The New Pornographers, Pomegranates, Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, and Tanya Donelly
Emma Pollock: www.emmapollock.com
Chemikal Underground Records: www.chemikal.co.uk