Essential New Music: Emma Pollock’s “In Search Of Harperfield”


Emma Pollock, formerly of Scottish band the Delgados, is nine years into an exemplary, underrated solo career. (Of course, the Delgados were fairly underrated in their time as well.) This third album largely continues the winning streak of her prior two releases, 2010’s The Law Of Large Numbers and 2007’s Watch The Fireworks.

A somber reflection of Pollock’s past, inspired by her mother’s death and father’s illness, In Search Of Harperfield covers a wide range of genres, from intense, epic opener “Cannot Keep A Secret” to the moody chamber pop of “Intermission” and the R&B pulse of closer “Old Ghosts.” Pollock also makes plenty of room for sharp Delgados-like guitar pop with “Don’t Make Me Wait” and “Parks & Recreation” (which has nothing to do with Leslie Knope or Ron Swanson). What holds it all together—besides the thematic unity—are Pollock’s vocals, which are clear, unaffected and emotive throughout.

—Michael Pelusi