The cover to Emma Ruth Rundle’s fourth solo record, "On Dark Horses", bears a blurry photo of the songwriter obscuring her face with a large toy horse with broken legs. The photo suggests something candid but also hidden, graceful but also fractured—a fitting portrait for an artist who has established a career by vacillating between shrouding herself in mystery and exposing her wounds to the world. Her first solo release, "Electric Guitar: One", was a collection of Frippian guitar instrumentals written and recorded in the backseat of a tour van during her tenure in Red Sparowes. It’s a record devoid of context, revealing nothing of Rundle’s personal narrative. The first peek behind the curtain came with "Some Heavy Ocean", where layers of distortion were excised in favor of acoustic guitar and Rundle’s beguiling vocals. There was a distinct difference by the time Rundle released "Marked For Death", a stark and deeply personal meditation on mortality and self-destructive behavior. Her entire musical trajectory—from the cinematic instrumentals of Red Sparowes to the lush haze of Marriages and onward through her solo career—seems like a gradual disclosure of intimate secrets. With "On Dark Horses", Rundle doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable realities or retreat into a private world, but it does capture an artist who has survived their personal nadir and come out stronger on the other side.