Review: "Last Year" - Ella Ruby
Last Year sinks you into an oddly enchanting pool of haunting comfort. The intimate and sensual poetry that pours out simultaneously stirs, unsettles, and caresses in its familiarity. The smooth, melancholy, indie track delves into the bittersweet nature of processing heartbreak. It kind of feels like taking a candle-lit bath to make the most of a power outage; wind-whipped branches rap at the bathroom windows while the steaming, sudsy water keeps you warm, shielding your reminiscent state from the storm. Ella Ruby releases gritty emotion through velvet vocals akin to those of Angie McMahon and boasts production seemingly snatched from Gregory Alan Isakov.
A slow, swinging bassline and understated percussion create the sturdy-based framework for misty mountain magic of strings and acoustic guitar to pour in over. You can still hear fingers brushing past the grooves of the guitar strings thanks to the clean, stripped-back production that invites you into to the intimate musical space's reassuring warmth. Vivid verses register soft and low, leaving room for a slight crescendo into the richness of the vibrant yet somber chorus. Light vocal layering features whimsy-soaked hums that play in the waves of strings, an ephemeral sweetness that calls the hairs on your neck and arms to curious attention.
Shaped by her beloved stormy, Seattle weather, Ella Ruby is an independent artist who cites her main influences as Billie Marten, Brandi Carlile, Julie Byrne, and Shannon Lay. Between Last Year and her debut single, Baths, Ella Ruby has shored up the foundations for her flourishing musical style that already honors the singer-songwriter inspirations she has named. Multi-talented, Ella also lends her talents to the world of ceramic art when not crafting hypnotic indie daydream fuel. Selfishly, I would request that Ella forgo all hobbies and responsibilities, just until we can get the rest of the tracks from her upcoming EP, baby blue.
Written By George McSherry