But Emily Arin’s “Patch of Land” bursts through those categories and creates a mesmerizing album that can’t be pinned down.
Her instrument is the acoustic guitar, and she sings in a haunting tone that falls just south of soprano. Her songs incorporate modern singer/songwriter, folk, ‘50s pop, country, waltzes and more. The whole album is approached with a crisp, clear-eyed production, which makes each element of the sparse arrangements stand out. It’s very, very clear what she’s playing; it’s just not really clear what genre she’s playing.
It really doesn’t matter once you hear it, however. From the wistful opener “Say” to the uniquely tender “Sweetly Breathe” to the stark beauty of closer “Lyle’s Light,” there’s not a bad tune in the mix. Arin will hook you immediately, but it may take a while to figure out what it is that has drawn you. Even if it takes several listens to wrap your head around the songs, her charms are inescapable. You will be baffled, awed and calmed all at once. —Stephen Carradini