Music Review: Emiliana Torrini ‘Miss Flower’

The Sound of Memory, a Bouquet of Life

Such is the beautiful randomness of our fleeting lives, I had recently, serendipitously been researching the topic of memory, specifically the work of Cahran Ranganath, a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. His studies investigated how memories actually form, in particular for storage efficiency, the mind re-edits moments and experiences, encapsulating them into a brief synopsis of what were extended time frames. He posited that memory is more like a painting, creatively constructed, constantly adapting, evolving through every return, observation, mood and embrace

Music operates along similar lines to these paintings, with the duality to feel the now, while also simultaneously transporting us through time and recollection, evoking invisible sonic paintings, triggering texture, touch, emotions and hopefully comfort, over the decades crafting a jukebox/playlist/soundtrack possibly entitled Now That’s What I Call Music: My Life.

If I was to suggest a voice that aptly encapsulated the ethereal essence of memory, Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini would absolutely be at the fore. An otherworldly delicate, crystal clear, pure, yet resolute force, as if the voice of nature herself. At times a gentle breeze, yet always with the sense of power to stir an avalanche of emotions, the essence of existence, distilled, potent.

Such vocal capacity and artistic ability in turn makes for mesmerising, hypnotic potential given the right stimulus, and my has that catalyst come flooding in Miss Flower, her latest album release.

It has to be said that this is Emilíana’s first solo album since 2013, so it’s a given that the story behind the album effectively became a calling to realise the project. Inspired by a box of letters discovered after the passing of Geraldine Flowers, the mother of Emilíana’s friend Zoe, wife of Simon Byrt, producer and long-time collaborator of Torrini.

The collection of letters, photographs and journals unearthed a time capsule and doorway into the life of a radiant woman that inspiringly defied the repressive norms of her time. Her light and beauty understandably attracted many suitors, of which Geraldine never ‘settled down’ with, despite having rejected nine separate marriage proposals, her vocation of being true to her free spirit beliefs sound almost superhero in status, particularly when we are generally all corralled into conformity from birth.

The ten tracks were inspired by letters from besotted men, though these proclamations of lustful desire were peppered with rendezvous, heartache and even espionage, it’s self evident why Emilíana embraced such a rich tapestry of source with playful glee. Woven with stories regaled by Zoe, a love poem from Geraldine to her longest love (even after leaving him at the altar) and exploratory creative license, mixed with emotional archeology to expand the tales of an extraordinary woman who absolutely radiated empowerment.

The more I read about the project, Geraldine, and listened to the album, the more I was utterly captivated by all, each track the opening of another chapter, which given the effect she had on people, it’s clearly a success in realising a life fully lived, as a beacon of individuality.

Of course given the vitality of the source, it would be nothing without the success of the end result, and what a gorgeous form it takes, a deep textured collage, rendered with the full spectrum colour palette of life, dreamy vocals, lyrics, sounds (natural and digital), meandering styles and stories evoking a soaring, playful, joyful aural diary, which I highly recommend embracing on a surround sound system, the production is on par with the deep rooted affection for the stories, and the person who inspired them. To truly capture the essence of Miss Flower, Emilíana lived in Gearldine’s flat in Chiswick while writing the album with Bryt, and such integrity to the project is palpable in every note.  

With each listen of the album, it flows and unfurls yet more about Geraldine, and her capacity to inspire us all, giving hope to living a life genuinely, with sincerity, with all its highs and lows. Itself a beautiful exploration and realisation of a life less ordinary, thankfully the story will continue to expand in a forthcoming film The Extraordinary Miss Flower, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth, a documentary about Nick Cave). Starring a heady montage of talent including Emilíana, Nick Cave, Alice Lowe, Mark Monero, Caroline Catz and Richard Ayoade.

Emilíana will also be on a European tour in the coming months to support the album.


Emilíana Torrini Miss Flower (2024) is out now via Groënland Records. More information can be found at

Steve Clarke

Born in Celtic lands, nurtured in art college, trained by the BBC, inspired by Hunter S. Thompson and released onto the battlefront of all things interesting/inspiring/good vibes... people, movies, music, clubbing, revolution, gigs, festivals, books, art, theatre, painting and trying to find letters on keyboards in the name of flushthefashion. Making sure it's not quite on the western front... and beyond.