The (A)DAR – Science Fair by Emm Gryner

zunior_emmgryner_sciencefair_1000_grandeBack when Emm Gryner released this, her first indie album after the lacklustre major-label outing Public, I had the opportunity to interview her about the transition from big studio to bedroom recording… and I chickened out. It’s one of my big regrets from my music journalism days (along with leaving the tape of my interview with Moby on top of a speaker, but that’s another story).

I’ve since bought just about every Emm Gryner album she has released, except for her debut/demo And Distrust It which I can’t seem to find anywhere that takes Canadian credit cards, and her latest, 21st Century Ballads, which I’ll download as soon as it shows up on my favourite digital music store, Zunior.com. Nice plug, eh? Still, of the 16 Gryner albums I’ve purchased over the years, 1999’s Science Fair remains a perennial favourite.

From the opening acoustic chords of “Serenade,” to the obligatory rocker “Good Riddance,” and her spare, subtle rendition of Paul Weller’s “You Do Something to Me,” Science Fair is a musical exploration of loss and longing. The burdens of unrequited love, the elation of a bad breakup gone right, the comfort of memory… this album is beautiful, haunting and hopeful. Emm really trusts her own songwriting instincts on Science Fair, and that confidence serves her well in her later works.

Here’s a live version of “Stereochrome,” the second track on the album.

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