Emanuel and the Fear are a new band/collective(?) based out of New York. The band boasts an entourage of musicians, everything from strings and horns to the more typical instrumentation of rock. Incorporating everything from electro to pensive folk influences, the group manages to handle a range of styles without any of them coming across as forced.
Things start off with the springtime romp of "The Rain Becomes The Clouds", which comfortably combines the retro-pop immediacy of The Postal Service with the more diverse instrumentation of Sufjan Stevens. Of all the tracks on the EP, this song seems to find them the most at home and hopefully wil be a prime direction they pursue for some of their future work.
"Comfortable Prison" follows, and is a very stripped down folksy singer-songwriter track. The horns and drum machine are replaced by an acoustic guitar and pedal steel. Although it's a stark contrast to what came before, it's a very nice song on its own. Lead singer Emanuel Ayvas has great vocal range, and style enough to carry out the chameleon needs of this EP. The instrumentation fills up towards the end with strings and more backing vocals, a fullness that seems to fit their M.O.
The indie romp of "Jimme's Song" relies on an extended backbeat groove and is easily the catchiest track. Unfortunately, it's also about twice as long as what it can reasonably support. Because of this it starts to wear out its welcome, as it breaks down into a lengthy slow jam. Again, nice enough the first time around, but then becomes gratuitous.
"We're All Alright Tonight" seems to combine some of the orchestral energy of "The Rain Becomes The Clouds" with the loose rhythmic drive of "Jimme's Song" and mostly to very positive results. The only misstep is an over-reliance on productrion tricks that detract from, rather than add to, the track. Dear world, the overly-processed robotic auto-tuning (or "Cher vocal effect" as I prefer to call it) sound is officially old. Please kill it. It's marring an otherwise great track here.