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Album Review: Emilie Autumn – Fight Like A Girl

Where do you start with an album that has been so long in the making, and one so grand? It’s been six years since Emilie Autumn’s last album proper ‘Opheliac’ was released. Since then, we’ve seen a few bits and bobs released, including the classical collection ‘Laced/Unlaced’ and the ‘4 O’Clock’ EP. The rest of the time has been spent touring the world, converting plague rats internationally.

Fight Like A Girl’ is very much a musical. It’s not always rock, but when it is, it really rocks. Elsewhere there are carnival-esque vamps and passionate balladry. It’s worth pointing out that to get the full experience, you will need to have prior knowledge of Emilie’s music; so while ‘Fight Like A Girl’ is incredibly accessible in some places, others will only fully be appreciated if you’ve heard some songs from EA’s past discography.

The opening title-track and lead single is about as accessible as you can get from the weird world of Emilie Autumn. It has plenty of twists and turns to keep it interesting for the duration of its 5-minute length, and the chorus will stick with you for days. Compared to what follows it, it’s really quite conventional, refreshingly so. Expect yourself to keep coming back to this one whether you’re in the mood for the full ‘Fight Like A Girl’ experience or not.

Which means that the other 16emilie autumn fight like a girl tracks are (mostly) best enjoyed when treated as a whole. It’s a lot to ask and to take when not in the mood for an album lasting over an hour, but it feels infinitely more rewarding when treated as an entirety.

There are exceptions. The new songs that have been performed live stick out if you’ve been to one of Emilie’s recent shows, in particular “Girls! Girls! Girls!” with its unique cabaret feel and ‘Take The Pill’ with its ideal singalong nature and industrial heaviness.

Elsewhere, ‘We Want Them Young’ is a terrifying passage in the narrative with a cry of “Help us!” that will send shivers down your spine. ‘Scavenger’ is a creeping, atmospheric 7-minute crawling, ascending track that manages to capture the feel of impending doom.

There are shorter sections of the album such as ‘I Don’t Understand’, with its manic thought-streaming vocals, and ‘Hell is Empty’, which is a mostly musical movement, that only feel relevant when listened to as part of the flow of the whole album. Both are important to the narrative, but only feel rewarding when seen as part of the bigger picture.

The marching rhythms of ‘One Foot In Front Of The Other’ rounds things off in a somewhat triumphant manner after the preceding tracks of, well, misery. The album version of this track is much more enjoyable than its live incarnation – likely a testament to treating the album as a whole and coming out at the end with a sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

Make no mistake, ‘Fight Like A Girl’ is depressing as hell. The downright scary shit that Emilie has gone through isn’t toned down (if it is, God help her) so if you’re easily triggered, be warned that there are some serious things going on here. Credit to Emilie for dealing with it through her art and creating such a grand vision, but that makes it no less terrifying.

‘Fight Like A Girl’ is a call to arms. Chances are, each person will take something different from it. As Emilie remarks at her live shows, no two people in attendance really look alike, and the same can be said for what each listener will leave this album with. Ultimately, it is theatrical, epic, empowering, scary, depressing, catchy, accessible, and most importantly, brilliant.

Rating – 9

     

About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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