EMA is set to release her third album, Exile In The Outer Ring, in August and she has just shared the second track and it’s accompanying video, Breathalyzer.
Breathalyzer is a long track, coming in at about 7 minutes, with haunting lyricism and a very synthetic sound. The video is shot in the backseat of a car and follows one woman’s trip.
“The story in ‘Breathalyzer’ is very much an Outer Ring story” explains Erika M. Anderson. “It’s about kids getting fucked up in the back of a mid level sedan and driving through suburban landscapes. I especially wanted to present a non-moralising view of a woman deciding to take drugs. In most media representations, if a woman decides to take a substance she usually loses control and something bad happens. She is punished for her choices. I wanted to acknowledge that possibility of danger, but in the end she is her own judge as she confronts herself in the mirror while tripping heavily.”
Director Alicia Gordon adds: “By utilizing vague human interactions, sexual nuances and subversive body language the rest of the narrative is left to individual viewers’ devices. It was important to me to maintain a fairly high level of in-camera purity with lighting and lenses rather than rely on excessive filters and post production. Thus illustrating one woman’s chosen escape from reality and how it existentially functions beyond her experience.“
Exile In The Outer Ring is an album of Middle American poverty and resentment rendered with a scary realism and a deep empathy. This album is a return to the noise-folk roots of EMA, it’s focus is American-working class anxiety and gender politics.
The result is a deeply personal, confrontational, but ultimately redemptive album from a quintessentially American artist at the peak of her form.