Alt Therapy

Alt Therapy

Ontario alt-R&B auteur Emanuel’s debut album doesn’t so much mark the launch of a career as the end of a long personal journey. Alt Therapy was preceded by two namesake EPs that previewed the full-length in discrete “sessions”—the first, subtitled Disillusion, chronicled a period of emotional upheaval, while the second, Transformation, saw him adapting to the fallout. But the raw vulnerability of Emanuel’s lyrics was answered by his supreme confidence in unconventional production choices, as he used his elastic, highly expressive voice to anchor beatless piano ballads (“Thought It’d Be Easy”), dizzying orchestral swirls (“Magazines”), and trembling Radiohead-esque atmospheres (“Black Woman”). Both of those EPs are reprised on Alt Therapy, supplemented with an additional six tracks that help bring Emanuel’s story to an optimistic conclusion. “After Disillusion and Transformation, I wanted to see some sort of growth and come full circle to a place of finality to the story—which for me, personally, is getting to a place where I know what I want in my life,” Emanuel tells Apple Music. You can sense that newfound contentment in the late-album track “Worldwide,” a heady neo-soul fantasia that conflates the thrill of a budding romance with Emanuel’s excitement to tour his music around the globe. For Emanuel, Alt Therapy doesn’t just represent the light at the end of a very long tunnel, but a gateway to the next phase of his evolution. “Though it’s the end of this project,” he says, “I want this to be the beginning of something special.”

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