Elvis Depressedly ‎– Depressedelica

Depressedelica is Mathew Lee Cothran’s second full-length album under the moniker Elvis Depressedly. It is simply put, is an artful collection that gravitates around that feeling of not-being-okay. Although each track can be characterized under labels such as electronic, psychedelic and lo-fi pop, there’s a distinct personality to this sound that can’t really be nailed into one umbrella. Unconventional structures and textures can be heard throughout, ranging from industrial noises to synthesized beastly howls, undoubtedly the result of deep experimentation. There’s liberal use of the vocoder to mask Cothran’s voice, which can be read as a character hiding behind a mask, suppressing emotion. Although most of the overall mood is gloomy and dispirited, there’s a romantic undertone that can be heard in small details, found in cheerful harmonies and instrument choices, evoking a feeling of bittersweet acceptance to not being quite okay.

The opener “Who Can Be Loved In This World” is a folky romp song that could have actually been the only happy cut in this album, except for a hint of hesitation in its melancholic arrangement, suggesting that love is still a doubtful outcome. “Jane Don’t You Know Me” is a few 808s short of being lo-fi hip hop, but it serves the same purpose. Something you could listen to when you’re longing for someone. “Primal Sigh” is built around a synthesized vocal effect that’s reminiscent of Kid A, albeit a lot creepier, like a newborn monster howling for affection. It depicts a moment of anxiety that hits a breaking point, tempting to resort to self-harm in “The hope that I’ll have the guts to silence my raging mind and shut it up.” 

A happy-sad dynamic is present in “Can You Hear My Guitar Rotting”, with it’s deceptively poppy intro and melody interspersed with the imagery of being drunk and bored with its aforementioned rotting guitar. Tribal drum rhythms are meshed with electronic sounds in “Holo World” creating a contrast between organic and robotic. It muses on about how fragile everything is: “Time gets lost / Dreams subside”. Intentional or not, the title alludes to living in a Hollow world. 

Cothran displays his best songwriting chops in the tail end of the album. “Let’s Break Up The Band” is an introspective yet pragmatic take on the fall out between collaborators: “Let’s break up the band / Cause i don’t know who the fuck i am / And everything you say digs into my soul / And the music we play is out of our control”. The closer “New Love In The Summertime” pulls the rug from under you as it sounds like an upbeat love song, but the words suggest that our destructive tendencies is what makes us want new love every summer.

Although Depressedelica delves into dark themes and subjects, it remains realistic and doesn’t fall into melodrama. There’s a tinge of acceptance with every positive note — scarce as they may be — that suggests that things are not okay sometimes, and that’s just how life is.

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