Lyrically, Vernon is revealed as something of a poet. These are words that are destined to be poured over and analysed
The album evocatively conjures the loneliness of a long northern winter, placing Vernon's lovely songs in a distant, blurred vacuum of physical and emotional isolation.
Although comprising only nine songs spread over less than forty minutes, For Emma, Forever Ago is one of the most captivating collections these ears have heard for some time.
These songs are raw, bold and slightly uncomfortable, but at the same time authentic and therefore extremely special, like the offspring of creativity and isolation at their most fruitful.
Vernon gives a soulful performance full of intuitive swells and fades, his phrasing and pronunciation making his voice as much a purely sonic instrument as his guitar.
For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart.
Vernon’s voice — delicately layered and yearning — gives standouts “Skinny Love” and “Flume” their stunningly direct emotional impact, but his sturdy folk chords, earthy melodies, and plainspoken, pastoral lyrics prevent the album from descending into self-pity.
Though the songs are generally the same – minimalist guitar, a lot of vocals, almost no percussion – it’s the brilliant verse hooks of Flame or the vocal-busting choruses of Skinny Love that make this record.
For Emma, Forever Ago demonstrates the transformative power an artist wields over his environment. It's a record about space just as much as it seeks to trap and make surrounding space its own, to imbue itself with the personality that exists between notes.
For Emma, Forever Ago can quite easily be compared to being dropped in the middle of the forest with no directions back home. Put simply it sounds a lot like isolation.
|# 5 -||A.V. Club|
|# 23 -||Consequence of Sound|
|# 10 -||Drowned in Sound|
|# 4 -||MOJO|
|# 3 -||musicOMH|
|# 24 -||NME|
|# 3 -||No Ripcord|
|# 4 -||Paste|
|# 29 -||Pitchfork|
|# 30 -||PopMatters|
|# 34 -||Q Magazine|
|# 29 -||Rolling Stone|
|# 31 -||Spin|
|# 1 -||The Guardian|
|# 48 -||Consequence of Sound (2000s)|
|# 87 -||NME (2000s)|
|# 364 -||NME Top 500 of All Time|
|# 29 -||Pitchfork (2000s)|
|# 13 -||Pitchfork: The People's List|
|# 92 -||Rolling Stone (2000s)|
|# 56 -||Rolling Stone (Debut Albums)|
|# 258 -||SPIN (1985-2014)|