Review: Emma Ruth Rundle – ‘Marked For Death’

Posted: by Findlay


This album couldn’t have come out at a more perfect time.

An album whose sound mourns the death of summer and embraces the clean chill of seasonal change. The sound of the last long cloudless drives and seeing the cords of night pulling in earlier and earlier at the end of each day.

Emma Ruth Rundle is a singer-songwriter from LA and between her solo music and full band Marriages, has been gracing us with one release per year since 2014 and long may it continue. Her 2014 album Some Heavy Ocean was absolutely one of my favourites of that year and probably in my top 20 of all time. An album of clear drive, hushed fragility and unique vision. An album of songs sung from a room inside a mountain, the real sound of flashlights across the night sand. Clean guitars and head spinningly good vocals making it an instant classic.

Now she’s back baby! With Marked For Death Emma has returned to us, and she’s given us the most ghostly, autumnal album I could’ve imagined and it’s fucking amazing.

The extremes have been pulled and she’s exploring herself inside each end of the spectrum. The quiet parts of songs are sparse and atmospheric, hushed and still, and the heavy parts are dense and crushing. Huge crests of waves blasting over the rails where you think you’re meant to be safe. This pulled- extremity none more prevalent than on the song “Protection”. Weathered toms and resonant gentle-smoothed guitars, slowly-quietly building over ERR’s voice slowly gaining until the huge big towering pillars of thick sonic noise. Peaks and troughs.

There’s a total surf to the albums sound. Not, like, beach-boys-blanket-bingo-cali-60’s sound, like an organic movement. A tide and a current. A monochromatic mood of Salem-white houses and picture frames lit by pumpkin light. The dying embers of summer parties making way for the equinox and browning of leafs. The production of the drums, guitar and vocals existing in a microcosm of swooning candles and kisses in the night.

It would be futile to mention more songs to listen to because you should absolutely listen to this whole album. It could easily pass for some sexy moment’s soundtrack in The Craft or Scream, or it could soundtrack a montage scene in Point Break (surfing again! What the fuck, man). Seriously this album is calling me from the bedside of a celestial creature as it once again wakes up ready to swirl around your heads for Samhain. It’s completely stupefied me that ERR has made a better, more atmospheric and evocative album than her last.

Endless summer? Fuck that, Emma Ruth Rundle has given us Endless October.

And that’s much better.



Marked For Death is out on 9/30 on Sargent House Records. Preorder it now on vinyl or CD.