Rating: NNN

After the alt-country solo efforts of Stars’ Amy Millan and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, it’s a relief to discover Emma Pollock isn’t trying to reinvent herself as a torch singer with her first post-Delgados release. Not that Lewis or Millan’s discs were bad – quite the contrary – it’s just that the market for indie sirens is kind of covered.

Instead, on Watch The Fireworks (out September 11), Pollock seems to draw inspiration from the late-90s alt-rock heyday of piss-and-vinegar girls-with-guitars (think Juliana Hatfield and 4AD babes Tanya Donelly and Kristin Hersh).

This is still effervescent, hook-based pop, but it eschews the Delgados’ more orchestrated moments in favour of simpler instrumentation, whipped into cabaret-ish arrangements or pared down into frantic post-punk, with driving lines of ringing single-note bass and guitar. PJ Harvey producer Victor Van Vugt keeps the focus on Pollock’s bipolar sweet-and-sour vocals, which means you feel the full effect of her acid-tinged lyrics.



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