Personnel: Emily Rodgers (vocals, electric guitar); Erik Cirelli (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Megan Williams (violin); Kramer (keyboards, percussion, sampler); Mark Lyons (drums).
Audio Mixer: Kramer.
Recording information: The Wilderness Recording Studio.
Photographer: Emily Rodgers.
Seven years on from 2009's acclaimed Bright Day LP, Emily Rodgers delivers her slow-building, slow-burning follow-up, 2 Years. Swimming in an atmospheric netherworld between earthbound Americana and ethereal folk-rock, Rodgers continues to tread ground first explored by cinematically lonesome forebears like Mazzy Star, Cowboy Junkies, and Kristin Hersh. With the shortest track unfurling at four and half minutes, 2 Years has an expansive, wide-angle feel, even if its author's confessions can seem downright intimate at times. On Rodgers' previous album, veteran New York musician/producer Kramer jumped in on the back end, mixing and mastering her already-recorded project. This time around he also acts as producer, and his stylistic stamp -- made familiar to fans of dreamy adventurers like Galaxie 500 and Low -- can be heard throughout the album's ten lengthy tracks. That all of the aforementioned sonic touchstones date back to the '80s and '90s is revealing, for Rodgers' music really does hark back to an era of shadowy subgenres to which the prefix "alt" would likely have been applied. Even the more seemingly minimalist arrangements like "No Last Call" and "In This City" have a decidedly lush quality and are beset with willowy pedal steel and distant violins. Rodgers voice and most of the instrumentation are consistently bathed in great swaths of reverb, reinforcing the overall windswept sound. With its heavy guitars and strong melodies, the title cut is a standout, as is "I Believe in You," a warm synth-led bit of dream pop that is unlike anything else on the album. 2 Years is a slow-building set that might require some patience, but there are plenty of rewards within. ~ Timothy Monger