Solitude can be so valuable. It’s where the rawest emotions and desires crystallize, where honesty and progress really emerge. Kyoto duo Emerald Four excel at occupying this isolated place — their music unfolds slowly, allowing the vocals to play out like an inner monologue, unconcerned with the world around it and rather focused on feeling themselves out. It’s not always pleasant — 2014’s “Love Labyrinth” navigates loneliness, but enough rays of light come in to make the drifting a little less painful. It can be therapeutic.
Their newest album, I Want To Be A Saint, continues to find the duo occupying the mental space established on Nothing Can Hurt Me. The music still moves like lava-lamp innards, and the highlight is the half-speed “Tameiki,” which plays out like a slow realization (the title translates to “sigh,” and this feels like coming to peace with a situation and…well, accepting). Guitars add melancholy to the sparse “Good Night,” and the finale of “Adventure Of Spiritual Amazon” serves as a fitting conclusion to an album in search of peace, powered forward by rumbling drum and enveloped in a lovely electronic sheen.
Yet Saint also finds Emerald Four letting in a little more joy, and the inner realization that giving oneself over to happiness is OK adds an extra dimension to their latest. “Always With You” is one of the skippiest numbers they’ve ever written, while “Tanuki Song” even gets kind of goofy during its bouncy run (and it features far and away the most upbeat sounding vocals Emerald Four have put to song yet). Self reflection is fine, but the beauty of Saint is seeing all of it bloom into realization.
Get it here, or listen below.