I’m not sure there is any such phrase as a ‘renaissance woman’. However enlightened they were during history’s golden age, they weren’t enlightened enough to let girls have a go. But if renaissance woman can exist, then Emma Lee-Moss aka Emmy The Great is definitely one. Emmy launched her debut EP ‘My Bad’ at Hoxton’s Macbeth pub last week, an event which she not only organised (negotiating a last minute change of venue when the original pub suddenly closed down), promoted, curated, hosted and headlined herself – she also provided the catering, baking a tray of tasty cakes for the occasion.
Emmy has often been called an antifolk singer, sometimes by herself, but that term – conjuring up images of vegan-café whingers with matted hair doing irksome comedy songs – does her a disservice. Her songs can actually be genuinely funny without descending into wackiness, largely because they’re driven by disarmingly candid observations about the nature of love and desire. If there’s an occasionally overly dainty feel to her neatly-wrapped acoustic vignettes, Emmy will suddenly subvert it with a couplet of searing unsentimentality. “They pulled a human from my waist/ It had your eyes it had your face,” she trills matter-of-factly at the end of otherwise whimsical kiss-off ‘City Song’. “I would’ve kept it if I’d stayed.” ‘The Hypnotist’s Song’ is the real heartbreaker though, as she attempts to rationalise the scary, disorientating feeling of falling in love in terms of a cartoon explosion.
Also ambling on-and-off stage during the course of the evening were Dev Lightspeed Champion (who performed impressive versions of Strokes, Weezer and Heart songs), Eugene McGuinness, Sam Get Cape and Ed from The Mules. It was pretty much the same crowd who backed each other up at Lightspeed Champion’s own gig a few weeks ago, suggesting that London’s answer to the ‘60s Laurel Canyon scene is rallying in Camden. It’s not just a convenient comparison to say Emmy is their Joni Mitchell.