Exile In The Outer Ring

EMA - Exile In The Outer Ring
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2017 Ratings: #115 / 721
User Score
Based on 91 ratings
2017 Ratings: #305
August 25, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
City Slang / Label
Noise Rock, Art Rock / Genres
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Drowned in Sound

While EMA still swirls blasted riffs around her and slams us back with aftershock drums, this time she stands visibly before us, blueprints and implements of destruction in clear sight.


On Exile in the Outer Ring, Anderson calls on listeners to maintain their humanity in powerful, unnerving ways that make it one of her finest achievements.

A.V. Club

Eventually, when the fog lifts, Exile In The Outer Ring could stand as one of the artistic triumphs of this dark time.

‘Exile In The Outer Ring’ is a heavy-hitting, ambitious record that sees EMA articulate the frequently delicate topics she tackles, with both confidence and due vulnerability.
The Skinny

With Exile in the Outer Ring ... Anderson has all but perfected a very delicate balance. She presents subjects boldly and forcefully, but also with a great deal of sensitivity and thought-provoking tact. The questions she presents here will linger long after its final notes fade out.


Exile In The Outer Ring explores complex subjects without reducing them to empty soundbites and neat conclusions.


Her ability to turn raw emotion into compelling and riveting music carries Exile in the Outer Ring, and the result is some of the best material we've heard from her yet.

Northern Transmissions

Always full of electronic life, and never boring, the album finds her navigating the middle ground between sound and melody, creating gripping and emotionally powerful music at the same time.


Erika M. Anderson’s third solo album is a surreal and powerful story about political alienation. Her character-driven songs of noise, folk, and pop music thrum with rage and fear.

The Line of Best Fit

Together, her words and music create a powerful and meaningful album which tells us that life is hard, but we are not alone. 

No Ripcord

Through the album, EMA never judges or grandstands. She takes snapshots of life outside metropolises, inviting everyone to look closer at those left behind in the outer ring.

Under The Radar

Exile in the Outer Ring is a cry of pain and a lament that filters in just enough hope.

Rolling Stone

All throughout Exile in the Outer Ring, whispers and screams, noise and tune, light and darkness trade places until the differences of disappear. For some this will feel like resistance; for others, existence. In truth, it is a bit of both.

Loud and Quiet

Modular synth drones are layered with heavy guitar riffs, multi-tracked backing vocals and repetitive drum programming, until nearly all space is squeezed out of the album’s eleven tracks.


Exile in the Outer is an assured record that manages to straddle its disparate inspirations into a conceptually coherent whole, if not entirely an artistic one.

Heavy political charge and emotionally strong.

Favs: 7 Years, Breathalyzer, I Wanna Destroy, Blood and Chalk, Down and Out, Fire Water Air LSD, 33 Nihilistic and Female, Receive Love and Always Bleeds.
Okay, so I really liked this album. Perhaps it was because I’ve heard a lot of slow, lingering music recently, that something louder and vibrant. There were a lot of songs I enjoyed, and even though the scores lower near the end, this was more where the latter did not hold up to the level of the former tracks. This was described as an album loaded with social issues and political messaging, but it was all subtle with little declared outright. It was fun, thank God.

BEST – 1, 2, 3, ... read more
A produção deste disco trabalha uma energia bem interessante nestas músicas..há uma orquestração bem intricada nos arranjos, com elementos eletrônicos pesados em alguns momentos, por vezes apenas uma levada atmosférica por trás. E acho que isso dá uma identidade a este disco, e sobretudo um som bem forte e ríspido para melodias que muitas vezes são bem doces. Na real, o ponto alto dessas composições ... read more
My lack of enjoyment of "Exile in the Outer Ring" might say more about myself than the quality of the album, as I'm thinking that this brand of dark, noisy synths might just not be for me. However, I did feel that the pattern of maintaining very similar sounds and dynamics for an entire song, and then rapidly shifting into the next song, suppressed a chance to create a more engaging listening experience. Hard to say, though, since surely EMA wasn't exactly going for pleasant or pretty.
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Track List

  1. 7 Years
  2. Breathalyzer
  3. I Wanna Destroy
  4. Blood and Chalk
  5. Down and Out
  6. Fire Water Air LSD
  7. Aryan Nation
  8. 33 Nihilistic and Female
  9. Receive Love
  10. Always Bleeds
  11. Where the Darkness Began
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Added on: April 19, 2017