EP Review – Katie Ellen ‘Still Life’

Posted: by The Editor

Still Life, an EP given to us in the heat of the summer when things can get bleak. Records released about this time can drag like the days but then there’s Katie Ellen’s second EP, available on Lauren Records. There’s experimentation here and there and power chords with extreme vocals mixed with it, these five songs are a combo of chill, intense, and most of all, refreshing as hell.

Opening with single “Lighthouse,” we get a reminder of why this EP was so anticipated. The heavy slow rock instrumentals give us glory and switches itself up throughout. The chorus rolls in intensely as vocalist Anika Pyle sings of fearing life’s unknown waters. As we say goodbye to power chords in “City/Country,” there’s a beautiful match of passionate synth to match the vocals. The two complement each other perfectly while Pyle’s dream-like voice rolls about waking in the city as the track suddenly ends.

“Still Life” is slightly reminiscent of Pyle’s former project Chumped in a few ways. This I love, not only because I love Chumped, but because it’s always awesome to see the maturity and growth of projects as musicians do the same. “Still Life” is upbeat, noisy, and fun while not wanting to break your heart. It has that “Hot 97 Summer Jam” vibe that keeps the energy going. As far as a fun filled, dance-around tune for the EP, this is it.

However, don’t sit down after “Still Life” ends, because “Adaption of Para Todos” might begin as a slow jam, but you’ll forget that after about ten seconds. Two minutes in, everything shifts from crazy wild energy and upbeat vocals to a point where the song almost stops. You can visualize this incredibly slow interlude not lasting forever, but there’s a “wait for it, wait for it…” build going on. Swirling into electric chords and hazy harmonies, I just advise you to hold onto your head. I’m not a rollercoaster person, so I couldn’t tell you what it’s like moments before the “big drop,” but I envision it’s something like the second half of track 4.

To round out a powerful, encapsulating EP, “Lighthouse” gets an acoustic reprise. A completely different reprise is something I always look forward to just to understand the depth of a song, and the one-minute revision accomplishes that so well.

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that Still Life was highly anticipated, especially following Cowgirl Blues. An album that explored life in full scope, as we all do, is still trying to be understood with Still Life. Tackling fear, love, anxiety…Katie Ellen delivers this scope of emotion in a way that gives optimism to something graspable about the uncertainties. Plus, who doesn’t love a title track that goes as hard as the rest of the project? Massive nod to Katie Ellen, they did the damn thing.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal


Kayla Carmichael // @kaylacarmicheal 

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