Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring Foals, King Nun, Pumarosa, Feet and loads more.
Order a copy
November 2019
Review

Emily Haines - Choir of the Mind

Introspective and deeply personal.
Emily Haines - Choir of the Mind
Published: 3:43 pm, September 14, 2017
Introspective and deeply personal.

Label: Last Gang Records/eONe
Released: 15th September 2017
Rating: ★★★

'Choir of the Mind' is a return of sorts for Emily Haines, recording under her own name for the first time in ten years after an intense period with Metric and Broken Social Scene. An introspective and deeply personal consolidation of experience, it keeps the intimate pairing of voice and piano at its heart, returning to diary-like reflections between bursts of life and activity.

Despite being a record characterised by its intimacy, the standout track is lead single 'Fatal Gift', which begins as a piano-led lament to life under late capitalism (“The things you own/they own you”) before exploding in a starburst of looping beats and vocal samples. It’s the most maximalist, dance-driven thing on the record, and it’s exciting to hear the influence of Haines’ other projects – in this case, the synthpop of Metric – on her solo work. It’s also a subtle presence on opener 'Planets', as synthesised layers of Haines’ voice circle around the central melody, recalling the vocal loops of late-period Elliott Smith.

Perhaps inevitably for such a prolific artist, there are elements of 'Choir of the Mind' that are surplus to requirements – there’s a Rihanna quotation in the title track that aims for cute, but hits embarrassing, and some songs mimic greater preceding moments; Synth-inflected folk ballad 'Legend of the Wild Horse' feels aimless after the similarly meditative and much stronger 'Wounded'.

These missteps are a reasonable price to pay for the unexpectedly experimental spirit of the record, though – and overall, 'Choir of the Mind' is further evidence that Haines is a confident and always intriguing songwriter. Claire Biddles

Give all this a try

Foals: Extinction Rebels
Feature

Foals: Extinction Rebels

Nearly 15 years after forming, Foals have just released their most outward-looking record to date, heralding a new era of social accountability, visceral lyrics and a commitment to saving our dying planet. That's if Yannis doesn't do himself another mischief first…
Pumarosa dive headfirst into an exciting new future
Feature

Pumarosa dive headfirst into an exciting new future

Their debut album ‘The Witch’ was a critical darling, but with its arrival came news that changed everything for Pumarosa. Now back with a second album which rips up expectation; they’re a band reborn.
Watch The 1975 debut 'Frail State of Mind' live
Watch

Watch The 1975 debut 'Frail State of Mind' live

'The lads' gave their latest 'Notes on a Conditional Form' cut a first airing last night.
Matt Maltese: "It was a mix of not giving a fuck, but also really giving a fuck"
Feature

Matt Maltese: "It was a mix of not giving a fuck, but also really giving a fuck"

Matt Maltese on album number two, and embracing the ballad.
Like this? Subscribe to Dork and get every issue delivered direct to your door anywhere on the planet.
CONTACT PRIVACY ADVERTISE

© 2018 The Bunker Publishing