So-so country, folk and blues-rock debut from this transatlantic troubadour – choose your Moment carefully.
London-based, American singer-songwriter Emily Moment says her debut full-length solo album, ‘The Party’s Over’, is about hitting a wall and coping with life’s physical and mental struggles when it seems as though things can’t possibly get any harder. Unfortunately, on the chorus of the shuffling, stripped-back and road-weary country of opening song, ‘Master of One’, she’s hit a wall when it comes to writing original lyrics, telling someone, “You can call me wrong, you can call me right. You can call me anytime you like…’’ It sounds like the kind of line you’d hear in a bad rom-com.
She trots out some more clichés on the bluesy white-collar soul of penultimate track, ‘Can’t Take It With You’, bemoaning a “job with a suit and a tie” while “saving our pay for some rainy day, ‘cos you can’t take it with you, but Lord knows we’ve tried.”
Massachusetts-born Moment was part of New York’s ‘anti-folk music’ community and a member of all-girl, alt-country harmony group The Savannahs – presumably when not doing office work. ‘The Party’s Over’ was one of the final albums recorded at East London’s original Urchin Studios, where Laura Marling tracked 2015’s Short Movie, and it also features a cameo from Marling’s drummer, Matt Ingram, and mixing from Dan Cox (Laura Marling, Tom Odell, The Staves).
Musically it’s slick, polished and well-arranged – there are some nice, er, moments, like the aching country-soul organ on ‘Can’t Take It With You’, the mournful brass on ‘Master of One’, and the Mariachi horns on the western-folk of ‘Santa Maria’, but, considering its subject matter, ‘The Party’s Over’ lacks an edge and emotional depth. It’s just far too Radio 2-friendly, polite and pleasant – Moment describes blues-rocker ‘The Bottom’ as “a happy song about depression.”
Every so often, like on melancholy country ballad ‘Belly of the Bardo’, when she sings: “We could be this open all the time, laying on a major fault line”, and the chugging bar-band blues of ‘Josephine’, with its lines “I don’t wanna play the victim, but I’m still soaking in kerosene” and “Maybe I’m a broken record, but you’re a cheap CD,” Moment brings a slight touch of darkness and wry humour to the proceedings – and it’s most welcome. It’s a shame she doesn’t do it more often, rather than just play it safe. This isn’t a bad record, but, like a dull party, you’ll be glad when it’s over.