Emily Bell - In Technicolor
Record Label: One-Eyed George Entertainment
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Some singers just have it. An innate confidence, a born charisma, a gift to perform. Color Austin, TX singer-songwriter Emily Bell in this same category. On her debut full-length In Technicolor she struts and belts like the best of them and casts a deep and wide impression, one that most likely will be felt in the months and years to come. In Technicolor opens with "Back to the Way It Was," a song with the same kind of hustle and bustle of KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." But where that song had a sense of pop gloss, Bell's number has sass and bluster and those two traits help bring it all the way home.
On the rockabilly "Hey Baby," she tackles rockabilly and mixes it with a cotton-candy sweetness. There's a decided old-school vibe and the song feels culled straight from the 1950s. Indubitably "Hey Baby," like much of Bell's music is a hip-shaking and beer-swilling good time. "Sweet Crushed Angel" borrows the same vibe as its predecessor but feels more restrained and relaxed. There's a slight tinge of Motown and doo-wop and a bubbly effervescence that would make Petula Clark blush. That same of effervescence is revisited in the sun-drenched, la-la-la laden "Flower Bed," which has as much sass and zest as anything released by any of her contemporaries. At this point on the disc, one can assuredly label Bell as a dynamo and also a throwback. Both of these things are exactly why she tugs at you to continue listening and segue on into the disc's second half.
That second half opens with the horn-fueled "Give Me Your Heart," another song that seems far more rooted in the days of yore than the days of now. While it's not nearly as strong as the rest of the disc it's a fine introduction to the bursting ballad "Once Forever," and arguably her best chance at crossover appeal. Equal parts transcendent and timeless, "Once Forever" is an absolute treasure and the very reason why Bell is worth your attention. If "Once Forever," doesn't convince you then the high energy stomper "Pusher Girl" will do the trick. The disc ends with the buoyant "Nobody Else But You" and the tongue-in-cheek "Love Don't Hold Your Breath." Though they pale in comparison to some of the earlier stuff on the LP, they still say and do more than many of her fellow Texas singer-songwriters.
Whether or not In Technicolor gains any traction remains to be seen, but with a disc this caliber under her belt, the sky is indeed the limit for Miss Bell. As auspicious, engaging and enjoyable as any debut released so far this year, In Technicolor is a titanic and triumphant effort that points towards the promise of something truly extraordinary.