Emma Pollock -‘In Search Of Harperfield.’ (Chemikal Underground)
This year marks twenty-one years since Emma Pollock co-founded the legendary Scottish label Chemikal Underground, and released her first record as part of the seminal Scottish band The Delgados ‘Monica Webster.’ And yet with the release of this, her third solo album, and first solo album in six years, she shows that musically she is not harking back to the past but rather moving forward in the present.
That said, it’s a record that’s shaped by her family history, and she makes sense of it in the here and now. The first track to do the rounds was ‘Parks And Recreation’, which recalls the teenage experience of just wanting to enjoy life in the local park, without the local bullies spoiling it for everyone. That’s not the only reference to history here.
The title refers to the very first home that her Parents, Kathleen and Guy Pollock bought a few years before she was born. The man on the front of the album sleeve is her father, working on the land. Pollock has acknowledged that the death of her mother and her father’s illness have shaped this album.
Musically, this might just be the most accomplished album she has been involved in since The Delgados’ The Great Eastern. It’s shaped by the gorgeous arrangements of Malcolm Lindsay and Pollock’s
husband Paul Savage which add yet another depth to the record, in the same affecting way that Dave Fridmann’s production on the aforementioned Eastern album revealed new textures to the band’s sound. Like all skilled artists, there’s a number of songs that stand out on their own merits (were she in the unenviable position of being on a major, the A&R guys would be able to hear loads of singles on
the record), and amongst the highlights are album opener ‘Cannot Keep A Secret’, the devastating ‘Intermission’ and ‘Alabaster.’
So a happy coming of age to her recording career and record label running then, and what better way to mark it than with the release of this album?
In Search Of Harperfield is out now on Chemikal Underground
And from the archives, an interview I did with Emma Pollock back in 2007