Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Standard Fare

  • The Noyelle Beat [Bar/None, 2010] A-
  • Out of Sight, Out of Town [Melodic, 2012] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Noyelle Beat [Bar/None, 2010]
A staunch supporter of staunch voices, I can still see why Sheffield lass Emma Kupa might get on gauze fans' nerves. No kid at 27, she's so confident, so sensible, so relentlessly upbeat about avowedly autobiographical relationships that sure sound flawed from here. Maybe that's the ironic point. Maybe the point is that her provincial positivity will triumph over the petty difficulties she strives so bravely to put behind her. Or maybe she hasn't thought about it that much. Melodically and rhythmically, the two male musicians behind her provide the support she may deserve and definitely needs. A-

Out of Sight, Out of Town [Melodic, 2012]
Tighter and/or tougher--the guys sharper and bigger, the gal exploiting her nasality to cut through. But unless you care that the objects of Emma Kupa's lust have become more explicitly female, which she herself makes very little of, what really differentiates this from 2010's The Noyelle Beat is that Kupa's now an old pal even if you didn't think about her once since then. Which she suspects maybe you didn't, because right beneath her forthright specificity lurks an edge of anxiety that portends trouble down the road--trouble that may be your fault. Kupa gets around not because she has a taste for the orgiastic like fellow janglers Los Campesinos! but because relationships go awry. She really wishes they wouldn't, or at least that's what she thinks. But partner by partner, she's still figuring it out. A-