Emilia Quinn is back with "Firecracker" the follow up EP to last years stunning debut "Wrote Off", and as the intervening single "Mistakes" proved, trying to second guess what Emilia is going to do is a dangerous game. The new EP has a gritty reality to it, titles like "Drunk", "Outlaw" and "Nothing To Lose" all point to a more darker side of the tracks altogether. Musically as well this EP is showing further development, taking the sound introduced on the "Mistakes" single and pushing it further, louder and with a vocal performance to match and the results are pretty sensational.
The first track "Ready Right Now" might start in a similar fashion to the previous EP with an acoustic guitar intro, however within 20 seconds it has developed an anthemic tribal feel to it as Emilia announces
"I feel lighter now I tossed away who I used to be and my old face, I feel warmer now I'm on my own, I'm an angel who sold off her halo". This is a complete life change and is backed up by a fairly confrontational chorus that signals its time to change.
"I'm ready right now, I'm ready to find out, I'm ready to fight now".
There are hints of someone whose heart has been broken, someone who has "been through the battlefields earned my scars" and all this plays out over a pulsing pounding drum beat and a guitar that explodes into a fiery bluesy solo. There's a tangible tension in the air and Emilia is able to front this hot rocking band as if she were born to it.
The opening of the next song "Nothing To Lose" seems to almost directly follow on from its predecessor
"Oh Lord please help i've been running trying to be someone else" sung over a slow acoustic guitar and it is only when Emiila sings "letting the pain run wild through my veins" with the last words almost painfully screeched does the band kick in and the track truly begin, in the vein of bluesy shuffle, almost gently easing itself along after the bruising opener.
The sound might be brighter but the lyrical mood still seems quite dark, and even a quick romantic liaison seems to being little pleasure.
"I ain't looking for a solution I just want a quick fix
When my trouble catches up with me I'll be gone and all I'll leave is a memory"
The track closes with Emilia hoarsely repeating the line "through my veins" three times, in a most compelling and slightly unsettling finale.
The third track starts with Emilia saying off mic "I can't help you if you won't help yourself" which sets the scene for "Drunk" which immediately announces itself as an uncompromising uptempo rocker. It is actually a hard hitting expose of what living with a drunk is like, made all the worse by the fact that you care for them
There is a brutal honesty in the line "Every night is killing me slowly" and telling the person that they are digging their own grave. There are eminently quotable lines throughout "I'm getting sympathy pains from your heartache Somethings got to give, someones got to take" and the track succeeds in working as a thumping tune while at the same time conveying a convincing message, there is genuine hurt and frustration in there.
The final track "Outlaw" by contrast is more straight forward, another rocker that even finds time for its own singalong section purpose built for a live singalong. The song finds her "looking for a kindred spirit" and spits out line like a dating profile, "I'm hell on heels I'm the real deal", who can "stand on my own two feet" and who will wear their "heart on my sleeve"
Fronting effectively a full on rock band, once that track really kicks in, a skill that seems to come as effortlessly easy to Emila as pouring her heart out over a gentle acoustic guitar, and that ability to combine both is a rare mix. Just listen to the joy Emilia as she joy as she belts out the final repeated versions "If you want my heart, I want your love". Emilia is undoubtedly a unique talent, indeed a "Firecracker", that could go off in any direction - it is going to be great following her journey.