Brooklyn singer-songwriter Emily Reo goes big with her home-recorded sound | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Brooklyn singer-songwriter Emily Reo goes big with her home-recorded sound

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For 2013’s Olive Juice, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Emily Reo made detailed, intimate songs with what sounds like a small symphony of toy instruments powered by nine-volt batteries. She went even bigger with her third album, the new Only You Can See It (Carpark): though Reo has retained her home-recorded approach, she’s fleshed out a full-band sound while playing almost every note herself. The percussion thunders louder; heavy, distorted guitar steps into the foreground; and her glimmering voice is multitracked in pristine layers worthy of radio pop. This outsize sound underscores Reo’s lyrical themes, which often address struggles bigger than any one person—though her performances also suggest the small ways that people can overcome day-to-day obstacles. When she sings about mansplaining on “Strawberry,” her clear-eyed delivery almost makes you hope it’ll be eradicated in a generation.   v

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