Bandcamp of the Day: Emily Jane Powers

Isometry is a significant departure for Chicago singer and songwriter Emily Jane Powers. Her previous efforts were as notable for their literary qualities as they were their sonic structures, preferring folky guitar accompaniments to shepherd empathic character profiles to the threshold of your perception. On Isometry, Emily lets her guitar do most of the talking.

The inspiration for this abrupt turn in style follows Emily’s encounter with the mercurial peel of Marnie Stern’s guitar, which opened the gates to a love affair with the hot and hairy, superharmonic, cosmic-thunder rock of Thin Lizzy.

This infatuation with Stern’s pin-wheeling guitar work is identifiable from the outset, as tracks like “Blue Black Grey White” sprint up rays of sunshine chased by snaky guitar lines before taking a headfirst plummet down a well of catharsis shaped like Frances Quinlan’s voice box.

“Low Tide” wields Stern-esque staccato guitars to slap and hammer a monument to surviving the mutilating instruments of a life of emotional precarity.

“PA Fog” is a subdued, ’80s-rock ramble that boils with the heat of a barely contained internal feud, sounding like the inner conscience of Bryan Adams contemplating his life while standing on the end of a pier and debating whether to board a fishing vessel charted for parts unknown.

The whole affair concludes with the ebullient bloom and country steel stomp of “Warm Void Thoughtless,” a number that is far more affirming than its title would imply.

Isometry is a departure for the Emily Jane Powers we thought we knew and an introduction to the one we needed to meet. It demonstrates her increasing range as both a songwriter and technical proficiency that points to even stranger permutations to come.

You can buy and stream Emily Jane Power’s Isometry via Bandcamp below:

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