If there was a point on a venn diagram where soft-spoken, energetic, combative, tender, simple and complex could all meet, it would be reserved exclusively for Eliza Shaddad. A London bred singer-songwriter by way of the world, she is a formidable force with seemingly more life experiences behind her than ahead. As a daughter of an astrophysicist and a diplomat who have raised her across seven continents, there is an ingrained wisdom behind her weighted lyrics. Yet, with every release she manages to bring out the gritty, the scared, and the eternally human. Her newest EP Sept~Dec—streaming exclusively here today—depicts three different love stories, similar in their passion but strangers in delivery.
Not shying away from experimentation, Shaddad unloads her stream of thoughts onto music sheets filled with jazzy bass lines, contentious guitar notes, and lulling drums. "I wanted to be able to record at whim and capture the feelings and moods of these songs right in the moment, so we set up loads of gear and basically lived around it, refining and recording and refining," she notes of her cozy DIY studio setup in Cornwall. "We kept crazy hours and got cabin fever most days, and then went and jumped in the sea and came back to work". Although admitted to be an EP with purely lo-fi instrumentation, it hits you bluntly with its loud energy and diverse rhythm. "One Last Embrace", a track depicting the inescapable power of raw desire—"I can feel it coming closer | Like some tidal wave that wants to pull us under"— adopts this overwhelming emotion with a roaring fuzz-filled guitar and fierce drums. Whereas on "Girls", the mood shifts. The emotion that courses through the melody is no longer urgent, it's almost defeated. Pleading with an old friend to let down her walls and reveal the pain felt inside, Shaddad's voice is supple yet firm with conviction over wistful guitar chords that can make anyone submit to confession.
The only track to show outward signs of a lo-fi production, "Same As You" tries to pen a rejection letter that teeters between the compassionate and the forthright. "Nothing you can say or do is ever going to penetrate my heart" she softly purrs, letting the tender percussions catch the honey dripping from her voice. Out of all three tracks, this one shows Shaddad's heart the most. Unmasked and unapologetic, it's not buried somewhere in a fleeting lyric or a piano key. It beats right through every line, giving courage, offering a safe space, and always dictating exactly what it wants.
Stream Sept~Dec everywhere on Friday, January 24th, and catch Eliza Shaddad on her European tour by purchasing tickets here.