Even though this EP was announced only roughly a month ago, I feel like I have been chomping at the bit to get my ears on these witchy Emily Scott Robinson songs.
Robinson is at her best when she is telling the stories of women, turning tropes and stereotypes on their head. Songs like “The Dress,” “Shoshone Rose,” “If Trouble Comes a Lookin’,” and “Lost Woman’s Prayer” all deal with women’s issues and depict complex women in their storytelling.
All of the songs from Built on Bones tell the women-centric story of the witches from Shakespeare’s play MacBeth. In the play, the witches often represent evilness or weirdness with their nicknames being the Weird Sisters or the Wayward Sisters.
Robinson, along with Alisa Amador and Violet Bell, retells this story, placing the witches in the forefront, and as the protagonists.
Even if you don’t know the play or much about the witches beyond their iconic “double double, toil and trouble,” the songs stand on their own and attempt to reclaim the word “witch,” which has often been used as an image or insult to put down or even kill women.
The three women’s voices blend beautifully on all of these songs, giving them a sense of unity similar to The Highwomen’s self-titled album.
The EP features four brand-new songs (including “Double Double” and “Built on Bones” that were released as promotional singles). Each of these songs has this soft sound that lends itself to its witchy motifs. The lyrics for each song feel like some sort of spell is being put on us or that these women are giving us a prophecy.
The EP also features two new versions of “Old Gods,” which was originally featured on Emily Scott Robinson’s 2021 album American Siren.
The original song is absolutely stunning and is the closet thing to a southern sea shanty (other than Sierra Ferrell’s “The Sea”) that I can think of.
Somehow, both the theatrical version and the reprise featured on the EP are even more beautiful with all of the harmonies and the slower, more melancholic tone of the reprise.
This entire EP is full of songs that need to be included on your Halloween playlists, and if you want to see these women perform one of these songs, check out the performance video for “Men and Moons.”