There are moments in life when you just know you are in the presence of greatness, something so astonishing that it consumes you and becomes an obsession that takes over your whole life. It's not a feeling that comes along as frequently as you'd like but when it does it sends your whole world out of kilter. It's the kind of feeling you get when immersing yourself in Past Life Martyred Saints the new album from former Gowns songstress Erika M . Anderson aka EMA. It's a heady mix of euphoria and awe that makes you light headed.

Bravely opening with the tense, mournful distortion drenched 'The Grey Ship', an epic 7 minute gem, this is an album that's not afraid to take risks. Erika's whispered delivery over droning acoustic guitars announce a major talent, a talent that could single-handedly rescue rock music. Next track 'California' starts with what sounds like an echo of gunfire and a cursory "fuck California" as Erika chronicles her love/hate relationship with The Golden State. It's a stroke of genius which sounds like a cut n shut of the Velvet Underground and Sinead O'Connor. We're only two tracks in and already this is sounding like a bona fide instant classic.

It's an album which takes the alternative rock heirlooms handed down by Sonic Youth and Nirvana, buffs them up a little till they shine and puts them on show for a new generation to enjoy. 'Anteroom' for instance could be a Kurt Cobain epistle from beyond the grave even down to its "I'll come back to you in another life" coda. Or take 'Milkman', beneath its almost impenetrable wall of noise you can hear more than an echo of Kim Gordon at her most breathless.

The album's highlight is 'Marked', a beautiful, brave, bruising and brutal account of an abusive relationship from the victim's perspective. Erika sings, in a voice racked with self loathing, "I wish every time he touched me left a mark" and you can almost feel her pain. First released on the Gowns album Broken Bones, Erika has reworked the track into a fragile, frightening lo-fi hymn. This is one artist not afraid to go where other artists fear to tread.

If it wasn't for the near unlistenable 'Butterfly Knife' with it's ear shredding multi tracked screeching and the slight and rather throw away acapella number 'Coda' we would have a perfect 10/10 album on our hands. Even with these slight deviations from brilliance Past Life Martyred Saints is a real contender that sounds like it's been in the gym all year preparing for a bare-knuckle battle with PJ Harvey's Let England Shake for the album of the year. May the best woman win.