Based on the album cover, Emm Gryner’s latest album Torrential looks as though it will be full of solemn songs about relationships and break ups.
Gryner, a Juno-nominated singer-songwriter from Ontario created an album with surprising diversity. It switches from upbeat folk to indie-pop to slow emotive pieces with surprising fluidity. Gryner creates unity and coherence through her focus on vocals and storytelling. Her sound is supplemented by a plethora of instrumentals ranging from acoustic guitar and piano to banjo riffs and synth supplements.
The opening track “Pioneer” has a country influence with bouncy, energetic lyrics, banjo lines, cowbell accents and maintains an adventurous mood. In contrast, “Purge” has a pop/rock influence and a heavier focus on electric guitar riffs. The song has a fair amount of swearing. However, it adds to the mood of the song instead of feeling out of place. The album’s namesake “Torrential” takes on a more sombre and despairing tone with deeper, faded vocals and softer acoustic lines. As the song continues, the instrumental lines grow in complexity, giving the song a chaotic atmosphere.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is featured on the song “So Easy,” a song with a sound split between electronic synth and acoustic guitar, giving a hybridity to the music. This is not the first time Gryner and Hadfield have collaborated on a music project. In May of 2013 Gryner played the piano portion of Hadfield’s famous rendition of “Space Oddity.” The two are close friends that have collaborated on music since 2004.
Torrential signals a highpoint in Gryner’s musical career. The album showcases her style, being centered on full and energetic lyrics supplemented by both high and low pitch instrumentals.This leads to rich and full music which avoids getting stuck in one genre or style.