What a lovely little EP from Emma Swindells. Listening to Radio Silence is like wrapping your hands around a warm mug of cocoa and luxuriating in the smoothness of its contents. If you want to kick back and get lost in some folk-infused tracks, this is the way to do it. It is easy listening country turned up to the max. The cover for this latest mini-collection is quite deceptive. It finds Emma holding an electric guitar, sporting a punk-rock style look, with the EP title looking rough and ready against a black background. I was prepared for some heavy listening. Far from rocking out though, I was caught by the clean sound of her voice, the clear reception of her lyrics, and the lack of additional background noise. Yes, the title track has a rock intro and some punk influence, but nowhere near as rough-and-ready as I was expecting. Instead, this is a record that has an earthy feel, like it was recorded live on stage at a local roots festival. Intimate, stripped back, and beautifully simple, it transports me to the kinds of rolling countryside where many a Welsh folk band has risen up from. Ironic, considering that she is from the urban landscape of Wolverhampton. Yet close your eyes and listen, and she manages to catch the words and envelop them in a velvety tone, slipping them through the door of one’s ear like a freshly-poured pint of ale passing smoothly between one’s lips. It is the soundtrack to a summer’s day in the beer garden, or a winter’s night in front of a log fire. The dream-like qualities of her voice are most keenly displayed in my personal favourite track ‘Disappear’. She invokes the best of Ward Thomas‘ acoustic numbers, with the gentle sound of the acoustic guitar, simple chords on the piano, and the inclusion of some sibling harmonies, her sister Clare on backing vocals. It is beautifully atmospheric, and gets better with every listen. It is no surprise that she was voted the winner of the ‘Horizon Award’ at the BCMAs last year. The success continues with this latest EP, and will surely lead to wider recognition in 2018. One thing’s for sure, Radio Silence deserves airplay. Silencing this record is not an option.
Featured Image (C) Emma Swindells