Review: Pem’s Debut EP ‘Cloud Work’ is Filled with Hair-Raising Vulnerability and Poignantly Introspective Lyrics

Following a successful repertoire of support shows with The Last Dinner Party, Bristol-based Pem (aka. Emily Perry) has entered into a new chapter of life with the release of her EP ‘Cloud Work, produced by the acclaimed Ali Chant (Sorry, Katy J Pearson, Portishead). Shortlisted for Green Man Rising, Perry has generated a significant amount of organic buzz over the last year for her visceral, mystical live performances. 

Consisting of five tracks, ‘Cloud Work’ is filled with a hair-raising vulnerability and poignantly introspective lyrics. Following the loss of her father last year, the songwriting process enabled Perry to ‘find beauty, meaning and comfort’ in a time that was marked by grief’s sharp wounds. Ethereal vocals blend seamlessly into acoustic instrumentals reminiscent of Angel Olsen and rising stars Mary in the Junkyard. 

A literary dream, ‘Gulls’ employs the symbolic and semiotic seabird calling into question freedom and escape, accompanied by brief percussion sections redolent of a coastal wind-swept walk. Pre-released track ‘Awe’ projects us upwards with intricately layered harmonies and an anguish-filled chorus. A crooning King Krule-esque electric guitar solo welcomes the listener to ‘Gut Health’. The track is hydraulic as we float downstream amidst a sea of tears. 

‘Martin Pêcheur’, arguably the EP’s most melancholy track is led by Perry’s piano solos, evident of the artist’s multi-instrumental talent. Tied perfectly in ivory ribbon, the track is an intimate and universal exploration of isolation as Perry begs ‘squeeze my hand’. The singer pleads for a guiding figure, a light in the darkness of grief. She yearns for a delicate touch we as listeners crave to provide.

Pem’s EP ‘Cloud Work’ is out on the 7th of June via Fascination Street Records.

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