The achingly intimate Engine Of Hell was one of 2021’s most arresting releases and to follow it up Emma Ruth Rundle has delivered Orpheus Looking Back, a three track companion EP consisting of three unreleased songs from that album’s recording sessions. As heartbreakingly beautiful as anything found on Engine Of Hell and recorded in the same raw and personal style, the three tracks found here only add to Rundle’s impressive body of work.
The acoustic ‘Gilded Cage’ opens the EP with Rundle’s melodic voice weaving in and out of interchanging finger-picked and strummed passages, whilst the elegant and tender Nick Drake-eque ‘St Non’ closes the album on a whisper. It is however ‘Pump Organ Song’, the tour de force that those two tracks encase, that stands as the EP’s highlight. Here Rundle is accompanied by the melancholic tones of the title instrument which manages to elevate her voice to new heights as she tackles the painful subject of a disintegrating relationship. Arguably the most moving song she wrote for the Engine Of Hell sessions, here ‘Pump Organ Song’ is able to shine in its own right as one of Rundle’s finest achievements.
The three tracks that comprise Orpheus Looking Back may be slight, but their fragile, confessional nature offers us a glimpse into the mind of an artist at her peak and also serve to augment the already compelling listening experience of Engine Of Hell.
Orpheus Looking Back is released 25th March via Sargent House and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg