Austin, Texas’ Emily Bell has a brand new EP Kali, an album of five ferocious rock n’ roll tunes from one of Texas’ most talented songwriters. Bell made a name for herself back in 2013, gaining national attention before the annual South by Southwest festival, and kept the buzz going through her last album In Technicolor, securing national TV and radio airplay. After relentless touring and recording, she’s back with her band The Talkbacks, ready to conquer Austin and the rest of the world all over again.
The album tears open with “Can’t Talk Back,” an anthem to play on repeat when someone has pushed you just a little too far. “You can’t talk, can’t talk back to me,” Bell lets us know over roaring drums and searing guitar. The song is an absolute banger. The song is followed by “Girls That Never Die,” with Bell’s voice coming through us a bit distorted while she lays out her new rules: she doesn’t waste her time on people unworthy, she won’t be quiet, she will be herself. “Heads will roll and hearts will riot” she promises. This is a perfect song to listen to in the heat of the summer, windows rolled down, while rolling down the highway. It’s an undeniably catchy party song that will stick in your head long after the crashing cymbals and guitar solos have ended. I imagine this song to be performed during the encore, with fans screaming along. Bell keeps the energy up on the next track, “Goddesses of Destruction,” with echoing drums and plenty of reverberated guitars squealing through the song. “We’ll all be bigger than the dream!” she shouts, before wailing guitars drown out everything.
The last two tracks showcase Bell’s softer side. “Goldmine” brings in gentle piano and Bell lowers her voice from shouting to sweet singing, highlighting her range. While the first few tracks felt like stadium tour anthem, the last two would be perfect at an intimate club. Every song is a motivating “keep at it” style mantra. “Love is love is love is love” Bell tells us, which is exactly what we need to hear on the rough days. The album closes with “Crashing Hearts” a ballad with rolling drum beats and howling guitars about a love that just couldn’t last. Maybe it’s a summer fling, coming to an end? But for now, summer is just getting started, and this could be the soundtrack to it.
Preorder the album before it drops April 21 here.