By: Aliya Miranda
Katie Ellen’s latest EP, Still Life, expresses the feeling of being stuck on the same page of a disappointing book. While grappling with themes of depression through dispiriting lyrics, there’s something about this EP that communicates a sorts of exhaustion you feel only after making the same mistake starts to feel routine. At the same time, Katie Ellen conveys what it feels like to move despite this weight and to inspect one’s past from a distance.
Still Life’s Lighthouse is upbeat, repetitive and sure to get the words, “Can’t get nowhere, when the going’s all gone,” bouncing around in your head long after hearing it. The song still manages to maintain a trudging rhythm as if in trying to move forward there’s still a lingering heaviness to each step. Vocalist Anika Pyle’s hopefulness somehow shines through regardless through a satisfying melody and lyrics like, “I always leave the light on,” and, “still I sit and stare at the sky.”
Anyone who has ever seriously struggled to get out of bed when the world was waiting for them will relate to City/Country. Again, there’s a heaviness to this song lyrically that’s supported by a commanding drum performance by drummer Dan Frelly throughout the track. There’s also something about Pyle’s vocals in this one that stresses me out. She sings the chorus in a lilting, nasally voice just slightly off-key enough to make me uncomfortable and this isn’t helped by lyrics like, “You are leaving me a message, I am wishing I was dead.” City/Country is one of the most biting songs of the EP and definitely worth a listen.
Lighthouse (Reprise) gives us a sense of closure to quiet the anxieties raised by the preceding songs and wrap up the EP, or at least gives us some faith in finding that closure someday. Comprised simply of Pyle’s vocals and an acoustic guitar, this song is intimate and easy on the ears. Recalling lyrics from Lighthouse, it puts apprehension to bed with self-accepting lyrics like, “You are hazy, I am home.”
Philly rarely disappoints me when it comes to producing great musical talent and this is no exception. Anyone into sad indie pop punk will surely get a kick out of this record. Still Life was released through Lauren Records and is Katie Ellen’s first EP which follows the release of their first full-length album Cowgirl Blues. Katie Ellen will be performing in Gainesville, FL at Fest 17 at The Wooly, Saturday October 27th at 8:40 PM. All of their music, including Still Life is available for streaming on Spotify and for purchase on Bandcamp.