Otur is Emma Bates; Emma Bates is Otur. Bates is a tender 22 year old Swede, and “Pepperbox Hill” her debut album. Having already helped found charming electropopdisco trio Light Bulb Project (review here), and with numerous other projects on the go, is it all hype, or is Otur worth getting excited about?

There is something sweet about her voice, something that keeps you interested in the words she is singing. The lyrics are by and large all written in the first-person, which helps to enhance the personal nature of the album – it has the feeling of a very personal affair.

There are some beautiful moments here. “Enough” starts with a lovely, gentle keyboard melody, before beefing up into an acidic dancefloor track. There are shades of electro, here, and near dancefloor techno there – but also delicate melodies and textured vocals that keep it suitable for home listening. A track that got me excited was “Self-Titled Novel” – a combination of almost Detroit House backing, giving a rather lovely twist to the typical coming of autumn/lost love theme. Also “Quotes”, due to its slightly-away-from-the-norm style, and very dream-like affected layered vocals – a very cool track! It would have been nice to have a bit of a change of tempo somewhere in this album's length (my main gripe), as most of the tracks seem to sit at roughly the same speed, which doesn’t help to hold and maintain the attention in places.

All-in-all though, there is a confidence to this debut, which helps to combine two seemingly quite separate elements. First you have the intimacy and almost naivety of the lyrics (check the rhyming couplets!), their sugar-tinged delivery, and then the heady concoction of swirling synths and throbbing bass. Put together this creates an album which has enough to not just keep you listening, but come back to listen (in places) again.

A confident debut which may not yet be the real-deal, a bit samey in places, but certainly a long way in the right direction.


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