Before I get started with the review, I just want to say a little about the woman behind ‘The Girl with the Cloak’, for a start she can play both the fiddle and the clarsach (celtic harp) and she’s played gigs all across the UK and as far away as Spain and Sweden. I had the opportunity to Interview her a few weeks ago and if you want to read that and find out a little more about Emma then follow this link http://www.newhellfireclub.co.uk/news/2017/6/14/nhc-music-chats-to-emma-durkan-thomas-neil
‘The Truth’ starts off with a beautiful example of what a fiddle can do, and reminded me instantly of why I was so jealous of anyone who could play a fiddle or a violin in school. Spliced through the fiddle is a wonderful harp accompaniment. Both instruments complement each other beautifully and go particularly well with Emma’s powerful voice. I found myself thinking about this track for a while after I first listening to it, it wasn’t just the narrative which I suggest you listen to for yourself rather than me describing it, but just how amazing this track was and how it was filled with such incredible brightness.
‘Green Light’ has a softer, sadder note but it gave Emma another chance to show off her tremendous voice. The harp is the main instrument here and it's just as good on its own as it is with the fiddle, especially when it's backed up by a voice like Emma’s. This song is a sad epic that just resonates with the listener, and I’m sure everyone who hears it will be reminded of lost lovers and whether the physical distance between you is an entire ocean, lost relationships will always feel that far away inside.
‘Trying’ opens with a far more upbeat instrumental opening than the last track, before it breaks into a song that’s about struggling and about trying. It's not really about being hopeful or that it’ll all get better… it's just about trying and I think we’ve all been there. This song really spoke to me, I think anyone who’s felt singled out or felt like they weren’t quite the same as everyone else, or as Emma puts it if you felt like you weren’t there “When they were handing out that book on how to be like everyone else” then you’ll find something in this song for you.
‘The Girl with the Cloak’ is the titular track of the EP and it does justice to that, flawless playing again, honestly her music just kinda carries you away. I was talking with my fiancée earlier about hiring Emma for our wedding and honestly this EP is such a tremendous audition that she’s definitely getting a call when we finally tie the knot. This album speaks to anyone who’s had to put on a mask for society...or in this case a cloak, it talks about how when you’re different it must be you at fault or as Emma puts it “So sure of themselves and all that they think It must just be her”
‘Fairytales’ has perhaps my favourite instrumental intro on the EP. I was almost sad when the song started for real...almost. Again, I’m blown away by Emma’s voice, it seems like it was made to go with the fiddle and the harp, and it’s very rare to find such a natural harmony. I really liked this track, it had a very distinct edge to it that made it memorable even though it was the shortest track on the EP.
‘Stepping Stones’ is the final ballad on the EP and was an amazing end to a very personal and touching series of song. ‘Stepping Stones’ was very clever and complex and did the whole EP justice. I think out of all the tracks I listened to this one the most, I couldn’t really put my finger on why, I mean I connected with some of the other songs more deeply but I guess when it comes down to it I just really liked the track, the instrumental parts, the singing - all of it was amazing and when it came down to it it’s all just came together to create a really amazing song.
The Girl with the Cloak has been available since May 9th 2017 and if you want to grab your own copy then check out her Bandcamp here http://emmadurkan.bandcamp.com/album/the-girl-with-the-cloak and if you want to keep up to date with what’s going on with her then follow her official facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/emmadurkanmusic/