Dork Radio
Now playing:
In the mag...
Featuring The 1975, Billie Eilish, Idles, The Japanese House and more.
Order a copy
December 2018 / January 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

Hype List 2019: Sports Team
Feature

Hype List 2019: Sports Team

Brilliant live, fantastic on record and with a personality big enough to dominate any space, Sports Team could well be 2019’s perfect band. Wembley awaits.
Hype List 2019: Sam Fender
Feature

Hype List 2019: Sam Fender

North Shields singer-songwriter Sam Fender pens tunes fit for the radio A-list, while raising awareness of difficult subjects like male suicide and toxic masculinity. 
Hype List 2019: Billie Eilish
Feature

Hype List 2019: Billie Eilish

Pop prodigy Billie Eilish isn’t heading for stardom, she’s already there. 
Hype List 2019: Indoor Pets
Feature

Hype List 2019: Indoor Pets

Hurray, it’s finally debut album time for Indoor Pets. Expect big tunes, infectious choruses, and a bucket load of top #content.
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