Following her time spent riffing along with Thou, Emma Ruth Rundle returns to her solo work, today announcing she’ll be releasing a new album called Engine of Hell on November 5 through Sargent House. She has also shared the opening track, “Return”, saying:
“An examination of the existential. A fractured poem. Trying to quantify what something is definitely about or pontificating on its concrete meaning defeats the purpose of art making. I’m not a writer. I make music and images to express things that my words cannot convey or emote. I’ve been studying ballet and the practice of expression through movement, which I incorporated into the video. I choreographed a dance to the song – some of which you see. Pieces show through. Since completing ‘Engine of Hell’, I’ve stepped away from music more and more and into things like dance, painting and working on ideas for videos or little films. ‘Return’ is the result of the efforts.”
Rundle has become almost synonymous with epic guitar work, so it’s quite a surprise to hear her stripping back to simply voice and piano in “Return” – but it’s certainly no less impactful. As she makes clear above, pulling ‘definite’ meaning from “Return” is a task to be undertaken by each individual listener, but there are certainly plenty of stark images and emotions evoked in the words – and the vulnerably pained way she delivers them. Whether singing about “Some hound of Hell looking for handouts” or “all the things a pound of flesh can’t buy”, you’ll be hanging on every word right up until the concluding lines, where we feel her quiet desperation as she beseeches “return to me / return again”.