Emily Reo has been recording and touring independently for over a decade. Starting with 2009’s Minha Gatinha, a self-released collection of home-recorded droning noise-pop, she’s continuously released a slow drip of pop experiments via artist-operated imprints. Her second full-length, 2013’s critically acclaimed Olive Juice, was a progression towards bright, kaleidoscopic synthesizer layers and loops, with prismacolor melodies upon melodies; her songs depicting the beauty of nature through vocoder processing.
In 2016, she returned, transforming her vocoder-harmonies into something even more meticulous and mesmerizing with her “Spell” single. Reo had always gestured towards the tension between organic and robotic sounds in her work, but with “Spell” that duality underscored an inherent solemness and depth of emotion in her voice—a dynamic that comes to a head on her 2019 full-length, Only You Can See It.
Over the past few years, Reo’s live shows have notably evolved from solo sets where she would play electronics alongside soft visual collages, to explosive three-piece endeavors full of expressive drumming and keytar soloing—a shift that speaks to the evolution of the project since Olive Juice. With each new body of work, Reo has increasingly pulled back the haze, sharpening her pop vision; Only You Can See It is her most fully-realized collection to date, with her most intricate lyricism and dynamic songwriting. Reo’s background as a visual artist continues to play out over her sprawling pop songs: her ear for negative space, for shading and saturating, for shifting between the bright and the subdued.
Recorded at various studios, apartments and homes around New York—notably, it was partially recorded with Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez at Gravesend Recordings—Only You Can See It is Reo’s Carpark debut, following releases with Orchid Tapes and Elestial Sound. Over the years, Reo’s self-booked tours have brought her to community spaces and all-ages venues around the U.S. and internationally. Reo has been inspired by the many places she’s called home: Orlando, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal. She currently lives in Brooklyn.