‘Stand Still‘ is the stunningly beautiful debut by Emma’s Imagination. Over the course of 10 tracks and 33 minutes Emma Gillespie treats us to some fantastic guitar work and melodious vocals, backed up by transcendental string arrangements that add depth to the tracks. And with lyrics adhering to the philosophy of ‘Carpe Diem’ and instrumentation that would pique the interest of most music fans, Gillespie has done a great job at appealing to an audience.
One of the key things to note about this album is it’s relatively high production value. Every sound on the album is clear and perfectly performed. This is really a double-edged sword: although the album sounds finely crafted and beautifully put together, you can’t help but wonder if Gillespie has become a part of the dime-a-dozen bubblegum pop industry.
However if she has, she’s given herself one slight distinction: the rough-edged instrumentation. Despite all the colourful string sections and pristine keys, the acoustic guitar that Gillespie is playing is the heart and soul of every track. And this is where the slight rough-edge to the instrumentation comes from. The acoustic guitar appears to be the one instrument that provides a feeling of life and reality to the album, while the other instruments feel very surreal and dream-like.
The highlights on the album are the spirited opening track ‘This Day‘, the rough-touched slide guitar masterpiece that is ‘Soul Of Oceans‘, the splendidly slow-burning ‘Drive‘ and the back-to-basics acoustic closer that is ‘Keep‘. These are the tracks that I highly advise you listen to first as they are the strongest on the album, giving you a magical feeling of dream-like bliss with sprinklings of raw instrumentation.
Overall, a great debut album by Emma’s Imagination that gives me high hopes for the musician’s future. I’d definitely recommend this album, although in relatively small doses as prolonged listening to the sugary acoustic-pop of ‘Brighter Greener‘ may result in diabetes.