Having attempted all other recovery options, you put a wild suggestion received from a stranger into action. Welcome to Camp Heartbreak, the galaxy’s premiere nature retreat for those that’ve been chewed up and spit out by tumultuous romance. You are skeptical about any potential results, so you venture out to the center of the nearby lake in a canoe. Upon reaching the destination you put down the oars, stretch out in the boat, and listen . . .
There are a multitude of ways to digest the heartache that comes along with a painful breakup, and reconstructing that agony into a supremely catchy indie-rock record has to be the most ideal method. Dry Food is the debut full-length from Boston-bred Ellen Kempner, also known as Palehound. These aren’t your average melancholic musings, though, but intricately orchestrated song progressions donning the skin of garage rock.
Throughout the course of this album’s brisk 8-song duration, Kempner covers rollicking fuzz rock (“Molly,” “Cushioned Caging”), psychedelic balladry (“Healthier Folk,” “Easy,” “Dry Food,” “Seekonk”), spare acoustic introspection (“Dixie”), and even jangly pop (“Cinnamon”). It’s a smorgasbord of delectable genres, yet they serve only as shallow frames for the sophisticated tangle of melodies that Kempner has crafted.
The underlying “thesis” of this record is encompassed in a deceptively simple lyric: “All I need’s a little sleep and I’ll be good to clean and eat.” There is no tried and true remedy for immediate relief, but time erodes the sharpness of those thorns, and the only way to suture emotional wounds is to stare those wounds in the face. If you’re seeking intricately composed, heartbroken indie-rock, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)