Longtime cult heroine of Bristol’s underground music scene Emily Breeze, former frontwoman of psychedelic post-punk outfit Candy Darling, scales new heights with her remarkable solo album. Rituals is a Ballardian feast of sex, dysfunction, sordid sensuality and dreary day jobs. Emily’s gift for storytelling might well be genetic – legendary Irish rebel, writer (and drinker) Brendan Behan is her great uncle.
Lead single “Limousines” combines acerbic lyrics and to-die-for melodies with lush production by Bristol luminary Stew Jackson (writer producer for Massive Attack, who has also worked with Tom Waits, Patti Smith and Nick Cave). The song opens with an Elizabeth Taylor quote. “Put on some lipstick, pour yourself a drink and pull yourself together”, “I was channelling those endlessly poised faded sirens from the golden era of Hollywood like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard and Bette Davis in All About Eve,” Emily explains. “The song is an affectionately mocking love letter to a young drama queen from the perspective of ageing female sexuality. Older women’s voices are frequently written out of the Rock narrative and this is something I intend to challenge”. “You dress in black but you’re scared of the dark / A pissed up bird of paradise scratching at the stars / Kill all your heroes, kill yesterday’s desires / You’re too luminous to worship any passing beam of light” is Emily’s cutting advice. The refrain (“Send one hundred thousand Limousines for the queen of tragedy”) is delivered with enough bratty sarcasm to assure us there is no fleet of limos coming to the rescue. Breeze and her band – Rob Norbury (guitar), Andy Sutor (drums), Duncan Fleming (organ) and Graham Dalzell (bass) – conjure vast lonely cityscapes reminiscent of Cigarettes After Sex and a woozy glamour delivered by borderline-unacceptable synths inspired by 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love”, all crowned by a lighters-aloft vocal harmony breakdown which owes more than a little thanks to the Beatles classic “Don’t Let Me Down”. B side “Raining in my Heart” is a relentlessly bleak and unsettling cover of the Buddy Holly hit which was designed to seduce those who like their songs sad, slow and laced with creeping existential dread.
So, pour yourself a drink, slide into the glittering dystopian galaxy of Rituals and enter a twilight terrain populated by faded sirens, crazed cult leaders, psychotic serial killers, crushed hopes and high octane romance.
“Limousines” single release date is 10/26 with a launch party at The Cube Microplex Bristol (tour dates TBC).