Released June 25, 2014
By Charlie Dims
There’s something interesting about the Montreal-based duo em&lou. Describing themselves as two music-loving friends, they have just released their first four-song EP westfacing. Though they are relatively new in the music scene, they have already begun establishing themselves, as with most musical artists, with a certain brand. They are the friends next door, the duo that makes music purely for the love of internal release. They are not in this for fame or profit, as indicated by their “set your price” feature for their latest EP. Unlike many modern musical artists, however, their “image”, if we are to call it that, seems absolutely authentic.
There is a special homemade quality to westfacing that is not unlike Elliott Smith’s first solo release Roman Candle. Before any of the songs start, we can hear em&lou discussing which song to sing and how to sing it. Their style is like the relaxed atmosphere of an open mic night, or the laid-back music sessions that come after a bottle of wine on a Friday night. Yet, unlike many others, when you wake up the next morning and listen to the product the sessions produced, the music isn’t regrettable. In fact, it’s quite good.
Such a homemade quality gives their sound a particularly vintage feel. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine this music being recorded decades ago and released for the first time now. This vintage feel goes well with their folk and country sound.
As a duo, their voices work well to complement each other. While both are rather deep, Em’s voice taps greatly into the loneliness and searching of the songs, while Lou delivers a harder edge to the songs. While they may start out trying to find their direction for the pieces, once they start singing, they become focused on nothing but the emotions that the songs demand. In the times that we live in of ultra-polished and hollow music frequently making the airwaves, hearing something so soulful and pure really helps bring the magic back into music. This project is about sharing passions and dreams. Isn’t that what music is all about?