032: EMMA RUTH RUNDLE & THOU

Such is the strength and cohesiveness of this collaboration that it deserves its own post.

Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle could be seen at opposite ends of the sonic spectrum, and it would be reasonable to assume that any attempt at merging these sounds would simply not work. One would take the spotlight and the other would disappear into the background, with the result sounding mostly like one party but with a slight twist. That would be a rational assumption. Yet, somehow, where Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou are concerned, this is something much, much better.

Emma’s dark folk song writing is paired (surprisingly) perfectly with Thou’s relentlessly confronting sludge metal. Both parties shine throughout and lift each other up, creating possibly the most unified collaboration I have ever heard. Songs don’t just sound like an ERR made heavy, or a Thou song softened by Emma’s involvement. They sound like the product of a unique, third entity. The DNA of both is most definitely present, but the sum is something new and exhilarating.

There is a slow, menacing feeling as Emma’s voice guides us through an ominous, slow-building soundscape, before Thou make their presence clear, exploding from your speakers with triumphant bombast. It is this contrast, handled so masterfully, that makes the album (and EP) such an utter joy.

This sort of chemistry only comes when artists have a true respect for each other, and when dealing with such different genres, such respect is a very special thing. This can be best demonstrated by the track “The Valley”. This song was brought to the table by ERR nearly fully formed, yet somehow, Thou were able to put their stamp on it as well, making it very much a ERR & Thou track, and easily the best song of 2020.