Music Review—Emily Rockarts

With the release of her single “Inventor”, going on The Reason and Romance tour, and performing in upcoming shows in Halifax, Emily Rockarts has been having a busy year.  Emily sings lead vocals in the folk/indie band of the same name, which also includes Dan Rougeau (guitar), Soren Nissen (bass), and Ian Wright (drums).  This Canadian band is setting the bar high for the Toronto music scene.

Mapmaker was Emily’s first professional release; her vocals and song writing are polished and well rounded.  Emily’s use of multiple musicians and instruments add a depth to this EP.  She writes her own songs, and, with this, it gives them an emotional attachment that is hard to find in the world of modern music and ghost writers.  In the song “In the City” there is a playful piano line that you can tell she is having fun singing over.  As the song progresses it adds more instruments and eventually ends with the same piano line from the start.  This ebb and flow of energy is what makes this song so entertaining.  In “Keeper” and “Flyby”, a much more somber tone is used, but she still uses her storytelling skills to paint an emotional landscape.  The string instruments in both of these songs pair beautifully with Emily’s voice.  But “Whale Song” is, by far, my favourite song on this album.  Emily’s vocals sound like she’s taking inspiration from an actual whale singing.  Never before did I think someone could vocalize a whale’s song, let alone make it into a catchy tune.

More recently, a couple weeks before the start of her tour, Emily released her single and video “Inventor”.  In this single, Emily layers her voice to create a haunting chorus that leaves you inspired and uplifted.  The gradual climb from her slow emotional singing to impassioned outro is what makes this song so powerful.  The band has found the balance between her vocals and the instruments, creating a harmony that complements her personal style.  The video for the song has an interesting moment where two-dimensional shapes that are dancing around morph into three dimensional shapes at the climax of the song.

Working her way across Canada and back made for some interesting stories posted on the bands blog.  With stories and pictures from their tour, she gives her readers an interesting take on their cross-country trip.  Being able to connect to Emily and the band on a personal level serves to strengthen her emotional connection to her audience.  You can see the parallels between her music and the band’s blog through their strong story telling skills.

All of Emily’s music can be found on her BandCamp page.  Tour dates and posts to her blog can be found on her website.  I think Emily Rockarts is a name that we will be hearing for years to come.