An eighteen year old Taiwanese American fellow, with millions of Spotify hits for his debut E.P., now drops his debut nine-track long-player. For our older readers I’ll explain what ‘Spotify’ and ‘Spotify hits’ are later on. First thing from the off, it’s a very cheery affair, and a very accomplished sound for one so young.
Opener ‘How Can I’ bounces along with a speedily strummed ukulele driving the refrain. There are clear elements of Paul Simon (admirable), the okayish folk of Damien Rice and the dreaded Brit-folk of Sheeran and Mumford that dash along in a super radio-friendly package. ‘In My Way’ borrows a big slice of Simon’s Graceland vibe, shoehorned into one track. It’s very catchy; Emerson certainly has that in his arsenal, most of the songs are similarly relatable. Plus he’s no slouch lyrically; certainly a cut above the likes of Sheeran (whose success, as you might have gathered, completely mystifies this writer)in his wordsmithery.
Final (and title) track ‘The Raspberry Men’ is a slower, more brooding affair. It sits a little at odds with the rest of the tracks, but maybe we could say it’s a nice little juxtaposition to round things off. Emerson delivers with his own coherent sound and vibe, even though the influences are sometimes quite overt. He could become very popular, with the right exposure, but it’s a crowded field out there.