EMA is Erika M. Anderson, whom attentive fans of lo-fi American noise will know as the former leader of Gowns, a band so drug-fucked they’d make Spacemen 3 look like The Monkees. But where her previous band was an unmitigated wreck of feedback and opiates, her debut solo record is more strategically catastrophic, picking its moments of abandon for maximum impact. Accordingly, ‘Milkman’ – a trashy romp that sounds like Patti Smith fronting Sleigh Bells – is flanked by the quietly resigned piano of ‘Anteroom’ and the astonishing grunge/chain-gang a capella of ‘Coda’. Juxtapositions like these are all over ‘Past Life’, often within one song. In less confident hands, it would surely be a mess, but Anderson steers the album with a slow swagger and skill, and frequently picks a melody, arrangement and delivery to rival Sonic Youth or Spiritualized at their most visceral.

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