A pulsing, radiant optimism and empathy and the battle between heavy and light is a theme throughout Kyle Emerson’s sophomore effort, Only Coming Down. The record puts the singer/songwriter’s skills on display, in which he deftly expands his garage-pop sensibilities with lush full-band arrangements and plenty of toothsome melodic hooks. At turns dreamy and driving, Emerson’s new release bridges classic and contemporary sounds to create a warm, inviting, and introspective atmosphere.
Described as “buzzy indie-rock” Emerson takes the window-down psychedelic pop of his debut Dorothy Alice and amplifies the singer/songwriter roots of his material with the ample sound of the band behind him.
The album’s first single, “May You Find Peace,” as it turns out almost didn’t see the light of day. The song sat in Emerson’s drafts folder for six months untouched. “I did a demo of it one time, and it didn’t stick with me,” he said. But as work was being finished on the album he heard the song with a renewed perspective, sticking out to him while he was reviewing song ideas recorded in his voice memos. “I didn’t want to write a sad, woe-is-me type of song,” he explained. But taking inspiration from the uplift of Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me,” he found the perfect lyrical setting for “May You Find Peace.” “Everyone’s going through something — and I wanted this song to be support for those who are in the thick of it,” he explains.
That track, along with another single “I Can Change” have already racked up some impressive Spotify stats and been met with critical acclaim with Earmilk calling it “synthwave goodness.”
The third single from Only Coming Down, “Better” shows Emerson continuing to push the boundaries of his artist output — both musically and lyrically. Coming together quickly after inspiration hit in the studio, Emerson explains, “Better’ initially came to me by way of a Roland TR-707 drum machine. I programmed a fast, driving beat and then the chord progression came to me right away. In the studio, we were able to layer a lot of tones to make a big sound — a process that was new for me,” he said. “Personally, I was in a particularly weird space when writing this song but still felt oddly hopeful.”