By Christopher Kompanek
Friday, January 11, 2013
To say that Emilie Autumn has a flair for the dramatic only hints at the intensity that bursts through her songs. She often embodies the full emotional spectrum within mere minutes.
Her latest album, “Fight Like a Girl,” is based on her autobiographical illustrated novel, “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls,” which contrasts her experiences in a psychiatric hospital with those of Emily, her alter ego trapped in a Victorian-era insane asylum.
Autumn mines dark territory with blunt strokes of brash yet effective poetry. “Revenge is a dish that is best served now,” she declares on “Time for Tea.” On the title track she proclaims, “I fight like a girl / I’ll get my revenge on the world or at least 49 percent of the people in it,” lest we wonder where her anger is directed.
The more chilling moments come as she wrestles with the severe depression that has imprisoned her. “Just because we live, doesn’t mean we’re alive,” she sings softly on “One Foot in Front of the Other.” On the eerie round “Goodnight, Sweet Ladies,” she bids farewell as Emily to all the girls in the asylum who have taken their lives. The circular melody builds with beautiful counterpoint to a catharsis.
Above its high concept, “Fight Like a Girl” is musically solid, featuring some of Autumn’s most intricate melodies to date. They grip tightly, burrow deep and never let go.