Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Emma Ruth Rundle, 'Body'

Emma Ruth Rundle's voice will pierce your chest and keep on going. Usually, she's accompanied by moody, doomed rock arrangements or, in the case of last year's May Our Chambers Be Full, essentially fronting the metal band Thou with arena-sized results. Rundle's new album, Engine of Hell out today, removes the heavy atmosphere to create her own, sticking to piano, acoustic guitar and little else besides her songs.

Rundle pens a grace note into "Body" that returns as a musical character throughout the funereal ballad; it sounds like a mistake, but the piano's ornamental blip is meant to draw your attention to how the music moves the narrative forward. In this case, as an observer of death or loss, but then becoming the object of grief itself. "I can't feel your arms around me," she repeatedly sings at the song's quiet close, "anymore."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Listen to the Viking's Choice playlist, subscribe to the newsletter.