Making her debut as an artist less than a year ago, Utah-raised alt-pop songstress Sophie Blair not only made a significant impact right out of the gate but in the short year that her music has graced the world, she continues to make superlative, confident strides into the fore with each prevailing and wholly emotive release. On our third taste of her sophomore EP, she dials back the typically sugary articulation of her contemplative and thoughtful songwriting for perhaps her most emotionally wrought effort to date, "Close Quarters."
Referring to the intricacies of her creative process in an email statement, she elucidates that, "it's harder than you might think to make an EP. There’s the excitement, the apprehension, the sheer thrill of seeing something I wrote unravelling into something that shakes the studio speakers, but there’s also the exhaustion, the sleepless nights, the 14-hour days, throwing up for the fifth time in an hour; the migraines, the nausea, the hugging my knees and sobbing on the studio bathroom floor."
If that wasn't enough color to demonstrate the personal investment that goes into each word and melody, the vindication of her voice in the first few bars alone certainly will. Her distinctly honeyed tones carry such a just sense of emotional weight, it's almost as if the motivation behind them is unfolding as it's recorded. A sombre piano projects her voice further, as a multitude of textures are slowly introduced to widen the shimmering soundscape.
The atypical song structure pursues the heady narrative, with a rumbling rhythmed instrumental passage imbuing a sense of being lost in the thoughts that the lyricism provides. The energy builds and builds, achieving a truly enchanting plateau that Blair touches on in the same statement, noting that, "there was a moment recording "Close Quarters" where I screamed into a mic and something more powerful than my voice came out. Listening back, my producer (Nate Pyfer) and I both started crying... It was a moment that I don’t know if I’ll ever have again, but I am grateful for it."
Concluding in a similar fashion to the way it began, the tidal wave of "Close Quarters" soothingly concludes in a tenderly raw fashion; truly enchanting work from an exceptional artist still near the start of her journey.
"Close Quarters" is available now via Wonderwild Records.