Emma Pollock

The Law of Large Numbers

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Ex-Delgados vocalist Emma Pollock's excellent 2007 solo debut, Watch the Fireworks, helped curb the hunger pangs felt by many fans after the beloved Scottish indie rockers called it quits in 2004. Hardly a dressed-down Delgados record, it utilized the best elements from the band while upping the hook factor and introducing some much-needed sunlight into the mix. Pollock, who wields a wily pen and an agreeable croon that falls somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Aimee Mann, crafted another winner with 2010's Law of Large Numbers. Like Fireworks, it's a diary of serpentine melodies, metaphors, and styles that's seamed and stitched together by economical production and Pollock's easy delivery. It operates in a sparser, wearier landscape than its predecessor (which will please some hardcore Delgados fans), but through the smoky decay of pensive cuts like "Chemistry Will Find Me" and "The Loop," rise a small army of glorious pop nuggets ("Hug the Harbour," "Confessions") and lovely, austere, modern folk songs ("The Child in Me," "House on the Hill") that distance Pollock from her previous incarnation without sacrificing any of the gifts that brought her to the here and now. Law of Large Numbers won't sneak up and hit you over the head, but it will sneak up on you. Singer/songwriters are a dime a dozen and well-stocked, but in their numbers the great ones shine brighter.

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