Emery are releasing their self-produced, ninth studio album Rub Some Dirt On It on June 24 via Tooth & Nail Records. The effort is an enthralling title honing in on the fact that whatever happens in life, people are stronger than their trauma. They just need to rub some dirt in their wound and move on with life.
Each song ties into the theme of overcoming that trauma and pain no matter what it takes. Sometimes we fall but we always grow from what has happened in the past. There is no title track on this album which formulates the idea that each song fits the theme of handling the trauma, instead of having just one song dedicated to the specifics of just moving on with life when it all seems to be going wrong.
Starting off the record, “You Stole God From Me” is a powerful nod to how people can affect personal growth and their journeys, with vocalist Toby Morrell diving into his personal relationship with God and Jesus throughout the song. There are two spoken lyric verses at the beginning that overlay each other. There’s the more dominating verse about dealing with the trauma by just moving on toward better days, and then there is the other about realizing how the view of God struck fear in most. For Morrell, he felt as if his personal relationship with God would get worse, and even admits it did.
The song as a whole is about the personal journey of Morrell and his relationship with his religion. The lyrical content, especially in the sung verses, is about how sweet and addicting sermons can be to provide the sense of righteousness, but through his journey realizing how toxic some portions of the religion can be, while also understanding he does not need to be associated with a church to have a relationship with God.
The instrumentation imitates the lyrical content with sweet, melodic verses while also giving heavy, guttural screams toward the end of the song, breaking up the idea of his separation from the church and going his own path. The last verse sung by Josh Head (vocalist/synth/keyboard) really puts the nail in the coffin about how the church stole God from them and made him into something that does not support what the entity as a whole feel.
Smack dab in the middle of the track list, “I Don’t Know You At All” is one of the more impactful songs on the album. The softer instrumentation mixed with Devin Shelton’s vocals make the beginning stand out. The idea of a mother staying in a toxic relationship due to the threat of her significant other is damaging to a young child and that’s what Emery is portraying with the repeated line, “I Don’t Know You At All.” There’s no sign of disrespect — it’s simply the idea of the strong individual a person loves changing in their environment and lying to cover up the abuse they face impacting the perception of those around them. Even though there is a clear story within “I Don’t Know You At All,” it can be relatable to anyone who has faced abuse in their household. Whether from childhood or adulthood, it can translate to any age.
The album covers a lot of heavy, traumatic experiences within 43 minutes but they leave off on a jazzy, fun loving song with “Lovely, Lady.” Emery is a fun band, but they do dive into heavier emotional content, which is evident in Rub Some Dirt On It.
Rub Some Dirt On It is for anyone who wants to feel an emotional catharsis. Emery is a band that you can scream to at the top of your lungs while also having fun with their heavy instrumentation.