Emilie Autumn’s “4 o’Clock” EP

Emilie Autumn loves her EPs, especially when she has been riding the Opheliac horse since 2006, and has toured three times with it; I know, because I went to all of them.  It seems as if the EP format is a way to get out more material for her die-hard fans to rip their teeth into.

Comparisons with her previous EP are inevitible, and this EP is the clear winner, for there are no ‘repeats’ (unless you put ‘Organ Grinder’ in that category, but this could only previously be found on the Saw III soundtrack) and this EP flows and makes more sense as a whole. Far more atmospheric than the Liar/Dead Is The New Alive EP. Generally speaking, this EP follows the exact format as its predecessor, giving us a few original tracks, some remixes from Opheliac and some random extras.

The main focus is the title track, which makes this whole EP worth buying, regardless if you like the other tracks or not. Emilie has consistently tried to make her sound essentially Victorian Gothic, or, in other words, to bring us to her Victorian Asylum; this song succeeds with honours. The lyrics work on two levels: the literal and metaphorical. Metaphorically it tackles insomnia, but literally it takes us back to the Victorian period and the situation that women endured in lunatic asylums. With its regular chimes, brooding harpsichord and thoughtful vocals, this quirky, gothic half-ballad treats us to a haunting listening experience.

‘My Fairweather Friend’ is somewhat of an echo of ‘In The Lake’ from the L/DITNA EP. It’s a bit of a filler that would have suited her A Bit o’ This & That album. The upshot of this EP is the fewer remixes, but even so, these remixes are rather good, particularly the Filthy Victorian Mix of ‘Swallow’ (one of the firm favourite songs from Opheliac of many fans). The ‘Swallow’ remixes rely heavily on the extroverted bass lines which gives them a refreshing boost. The remix of ‘Gothic Lolita’ is genuinely freaky. As the title of the remix suggests, less emphasis on music is displayed and is replaced with frightening sound effects with a little and faint violin playing throughout.

Many fans will be pleased to find ‘Organ Grinder’ on here, previously available, but hard to get hold of, nonetheless. For those unfamiliar with it, it is a fast paced electric violin piece in the same vein as the Unlaced album.

The words from ‘Asylum’ is purely Emilie reading out excerpts from her upcoming book – a shameless plug (why not, on your own CD?) which people are not likely to appreciate. They are read out with the same production as her poetry from the Opheliac album. Her acting voice can be a bit grating, and the sound effects and her leaning away from the mic can make actual listening very difficult.

There is a hidden track as track nine (it starts off sounding like it continues from the book reading, the song actually starts 40 seconds in). A cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘Is It My Body’. Performed with harpsicord and electrical sounds and too quiet vocals, it can be quite entertaining, but there is a good reason that it is merely hidden and not advertised.

Here is the tracklisting:

1. 4 O’Clock
2. My Fairweather Friend
3. Gothic Lolita (Bad Poetry Mix)
4. Swallow (Filthy Victorian Mix)
5. Swallow (Oyster Mix)
6. Organ Grinder
7. Excerpts From “The Asylum”
8. Words from “The Asylum”
9. Is It My Body? (hidden track)

Overall, I would say this EP is well worth buying. The title track is excellent, and the remixes memorable. The book reading and the second track let this disc down a bit but it is a fine addition to an Emilie Autumn collection.

Score: **********

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