I can vividly remember being 16 years old and sitting at my desktop computer, listening to ‘First Love’ by Emmy the Great. Both the album and the titular song were somehow quiet and loud at the same time; charming and folky music with heart aching lyrics that made teenage me cry more than I would care to admit.

Now it’s seven years later and we have the slightly confusingly titled ‘Second Love’. It’s actually Emma-Lee Moss’ third album, but it’s a sweet nod to her debut. Moss is apparently in a reflexive mood, having shifted from London to Los Angeles and New York in recent years. Her sound has consequently evolved, but also touches back on some old topics.

Love is, of course, a recurring theme, but things seem a lot more optimistic this time around. Album opener ‘Swimming Pool’ has Moss’ voice entwined gorgeously with the soothing tones of Tom Fleming from Wild Beasts. Lyrics like “love is something that I’ve always thought I could never go inside/now I’ve seen you here/I don’t know how I even used to be alive” beautifully evoke the mixture of hesitation and awe found exclusively at the beginning of relationships.

With song titles like ‘Less Than Three’, ‘Hyperlink’ and ‘Social Halo’, ‘Second Love’ has a few shout outs to our current age of digital obsession. Moss has quite a strong social media following, and apparently funded this album by working as a journalist for different online publications, so maybe the internet has been rubbing off on her. Things are a lot more electronically tinged in general this time around, but there’s still a plethora of acoustic guitars and glockenspiels to be found in the background.

Closing song ‘Lost in You’ is another futuristic and sweet ode to a lover – “your cigarette is so electronic but I don’t wanna go home […] let me get lost in you” – and is a beautiful note to end things on. A simple piano melody and distorted backing vocals trail off indefinitely and leave listeners excited for whatever it is that Emma-Lee comes up with next.

Hopefully I’ve matured a lot since 2009, and thankfully, so has Emmy the Great. Her latest effort is developed, smart and beguiling, and she is definitely living up to her Great title.

‘Second Love’ is out now on Bella Union.

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