Emma Ruth Rundle

On Dark Horses

Image of Emma Ruth Rundle - On Dark Horses

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The cover to Emma Ruth Rundle’s fourth solo record, On Dark Horses, bears a blurry photo of the songwriter obscuring her face with a large toy horse with broken legs. The photo suggests something candid but also hidden, graceful but also fractured—a fitting portrait for an artist who has established a career by vacillating between shrouding herself in mystery and exposing her wounds to the world. The first peek behind the curtain came with her Sargent House debut Some Heavy Ocean, where layers of distortion were excised in favor of acoustic guitar and Rundle’s beguiling vocals. There was a distinct difference by the time Rundle released Marked For Death, a stark and deeply personal meditation on mortality and self-destructive behavior.

Her entire musical trajectory—from the cinematic instrumentals of Red Sparowes to the lush haze of Marriages and onward through her solo career—seems like a gradual disclosure of intimate secrets. With On Dark Horses, Rundle doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable realities or retreat into a private world, but it does capture an artist who has survived their personal nadir and come out stronger on the other side. Taking the full arrangements of Marked For Death on the road demanded a backing band, which Rundle pieced together from tour companions—first Dylan Nadon from Wovenhand and Git Some and later Evan Patterson and Todd Cook from Jaye Jayle. Rundle’s budding romance with Patterson prompted a move to Louisville, Kentucky, which not only amplified the equestrian themes of the record but also yielded a new writing process. 


Barry says: I've followed Rundle since her days in the ridiculously brilliant Red Sparowes, through Marriages (band name, not holy unions) and finally, and most satisfyingly onto her solo work. Brilliantly nuanced post-rock passages, immersive singer-songwritery and Rundle's spellbinding voice all mix together into a wonderfully hypnotic and spellbinding listen. This one will be on the stereo for some time, i'm sure.


1 Fever Dreams
2 Control
3 Darkhorse
4 Races
5 Dead Set Eyes
6 Light Song
7 Apathy On The Indiana Border
8 You Don’t Have To Cry 

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