Album: Little Flower
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Little Flower is the debut album from Toronto born, Montreal based artist, Emily Rockarts.
Overall, Little Flower is uplifting with a soft edge of melancholy. However, within that space, each track bends that definition in its own way. One track might be a simple piano melody, another might echo 1960s pop, one might have a pacific island vibe, another might be a theme for being a badass. Little Flower achieves these transformations by pushing its accompaniment of piano, keyboard, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lap steel, electric bass, drums, percussion, and pump organ into all these different moods. The only constant in Little Flower’s shifting tones is Emily Rockarts muted, but intimate and endearing vocals. The reserved nature of Emily’s vocals keeps a balance that allows the accompaniment to express a multitude of varied emotions, while still keeping them from getting overwhelming. Like a little flower caught in shifting winds, Emily’s voice grounds the listener to keep us from getting swept away. Little Flower tackles themes of growth, accepting oneself, vulnerability, confidence, and asserting one’s feelings.
Standout tracks were “Get it all Back” and “Without You”. “Get it all Back” starts with not much more than a few organ notes, but builds upon itself to a spiritual crescendo that is simply inspired. The use of progression on this track so eloquently translates to the listener the full richness of a love lost, as well as the corresponding heartache its absence caused. This track shares a lot of DNA with Sigur Ros in its minimalism and power.
“Without You” has a fun sardonic humor to it as the lyrics detail a relationship where, “It’s not like each day was perfect,” but Emily still loves her ex-partner and is frustrated to see them with a new lover. This theme of not being able to move on (even when you probably should) is well marked in the song with the use of a constant, but charming, organ chord in the verses. The chorus and bridges then move from the organ to piano filled with vulnerable, heartfelt pleas to their lover that it “still hurts to be Without You.”
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.