Emily Alone, the aptly titled third full-length release from the Brooklyn, New York indie pop/folk project Florist, features twelve new songs, most consisting of singer Emily Sprague accompanied only by an acoustic guitar. Although the album’s concept is a slight departure from the largely synth/rhythm-centric compositions found on both 2017’s If Blue Could Be Happiness and 2016’s The Birds Outside Sang, it should be no surprise that Sprague’s fragile voice and sincere poetry is a good fit for this minimalist format.
“I write and I read, I spend time in the sea, but nothing brings clarity to what makes me me,” Sprague sings on the record’s opener, “As Alone”. Each song on the album is suffused with lyrical references to nature, both flora and fauna, and a healthy dose of introspective self-analysis and tactile descriptors that manage to feel intensely personal without ever coming across as awkward.
There’s very little instrumental diversity from track to track on Emily Alone. Some songs feature a minuscule dose of barely perceptible synths just under the surface, and the record’s lone guitar-free moment is the centerpiece, “M”, which opts instead for a stark piano and what sounds like feet walking on a gravelly road. And while Sprague’s always thoughtful lyrics will most certainly be considered ruminative to anyone with a modicum of sensitivity, it’s still no guarantee that Emily’s consistently gentle vocal style will be for everyone.
Longtime Florist fans, particularly those who have to-date followed Sprague’s life journey closely, will find a lot to love on Emily Alone as the songs here are some of her most personal and confessional, and the minimalist production throughout this record only enhances the intimacy factor. On the other hand, casual Florist aficionados who were drawn in solely by the project’s more pop-leaning material on their previous two full-lengths may find the gently plucked acoustic guitar accompaniment concept fatiguing after the album’s first half.