Album | Emma Geiger – Reverse Bloom

Relationships are complex. We all know that, since we live our lives surrounded by them. And when they don’t go to plan, many of us find ourselves engaging in intense self-reflection and internal conversations about what went wrong, how we could have fixed things, how we can move on from loss into something better.

This introspection is the leitmotiv of North Carolina-based singer Emma Geiger’s debut album Reverse Bloom. Its set of dreamlike melodies and raw, honest lyrics perfectly reflects the imagery conjured up by the title – a flower retreating in on itself instead of blossoming outwards. Or perhaps the point is that it turns inwards so that it can later burst forth into the sun.

The instrumentals and vocals are often quite exposed and the songs are never too busy, allowing listeners to hear their own thoughts and find a few moments of calm. Geiger’s voice is also wonderfully clear, which is refreshing in an age where heavy beats often obscure the lyrics.

‘All Your Words’ eases in with a vulnerable solo guitar followed by dreamy strings, Geiger opening a window into her soul, wondering to herself how to move on from the loss she has experienced. ‘Empty’ provides an ethereal electric backing to the lyrics, a melancholic violin soaring overhead, a glint of hope amongst the grief. ‘Invite You’ is more upbeat in rhythm, moving forwards, relationships overlapping in the singer’s memories.

My favourite track, ‘Hogan Song’, treats the listener to gorgeous lyrics such as “catching fire in the cold, yours is the glow of smoke” or “soundless amber rivers billowing up through galaxies of dust”, as well as further stirrings of hope. These are reflected in ‘Reverse Bloom’, which is all about moving on from a breakup, Geiger trying to heal but not quite there yet.

We finish strong with ‘Vines’, which draws on nature as both an ensnaring and liberating force, much like relationships. It has a pensive air and points us towards a brighter future, symbolised by the morning light, closing the album with the creaking of its namesake.

Reverse Bloom is a study of the quieter moments of existence, delving into the grief we feel following a loss and the challenges of relationships, but always offering us a glimmer of light in the darkness. It is also infused with imagery of the natural world and the universe – leafless halls, winter’s frost, the sun on the water and cascade mountains. Nature is a wonderful place to be alone, to be free of the din of daily life, to find space to breathe and think. Geiger has captured this in musical form.