Following in the footsteps of party-on-the-stage bands such as Arcade Fire, Emanuel and the Fear, an 11-piece orchestral rock band hailing from Brooklyn, exist somewhere between Bright Eyes at their most layered, Elliott Smith at his most experimental, and a less wacky Polyphonic Spree.
Combining complex and layered orchestrations over sentimental pop melodies and lyrics, the group formed in November of 2007, and attracted lots of media buzz with the sheer quality of their sound and enigmatic genre-bending. Group members are veterans of the stage, having played with Sufjan Stevens and the National, among others. Citing both classical and contemporary artists as influences (they name Beethoven as well as Tom Waits), Emanuel and the Fear should, for all intents and purposes, bowl the listener over with the music they create, but instead, they fight for the quieter moments, and surround the audience comfortably, with soothing electro-orchestral tones. Paper Gardens Records released their self-titled debut EP in January of 2009; they were quickly selected as artist of the month and as buzz picks all over the web. The spring of the same year saw them recording their first full-length with Jamin Gilbert at Brooklyn's Ishlab Studios (Dead Prez, Jet.) ~ Heather Wellman