(2019) Black Friday

Palehound

... read moreEllen Kempner continues to engage more deeply with themes of love and compassion on Black Friday, the third long-player from her Boston-based combo Palehound. Originally launched as a solo bedroom project back in 2013, she spent a few years making Palehound into a sturdy indie rock trio, though it's...

35′:23″ 12 Songs

1
Company
Palehound
1:58
2
Aaron
Palehound
3:38
3
Black Friday
Palehound
3:24
4
Worthy
Palehound
2:53
5
Killer
Palehound
4:10
6
Where We Live
Palehound
1:41
7
Bullshit
Palehound
3:38
8
Sneakers
Palehound
2:15
9
Urban Drip
Palehound
2:27
10
Stick N Poke
Palehound
2:26
11
The City
Palehound
2:28
12
In Town
Palehound
4:25
Released 07 June 2019, 2019 Palehound

Review

Ellen Kempner continues to engage more deeply with themes of love and compassion on Black Friday, the third long-player from her Boston-based combo Palehound. Originally launched as a solo bedroom project back in 2013, she spent a few years making Palehound into a sturdy indie rock trio, though it's still her voice and vision that comprise the heart and soul of each release. Without introducing any dramatic changes to her approach, Black Friday continues to lean toward Kempner's more contemplative side, eschewing some of the rowdier fuzz-pop tendencies of earlier releases. Since the beginning, her strengths as a songwriter have been the bedrock of Palehound and the lo-fi, '90s-indebted indie production merely the chosen vessel for her world-weary introspections. On this 12-song set, she turns her sensitive gaze toward the many layers and complexities surrounding relationships: with herself, friends, partners, family, and others. Themes of loss and longing color opener "Company," a surprisingly lush, synth-rich cut that sets the table for the deeply affecting "Aaron," a sweetly hypnotic album highlight written in support of her transitioning partner. Her voice soft and intimate over gently picked electric guitar, Kempner's knack for pairing misty melodies with undercurrents of power makes for some captivating architecture throughout. That dance between fragility and strength provides the human element that makes songs like "Bullshit" and the title track so attractive and relatable. As a writer, Kempner's antennae are acutely tuned in to the heart's dizzying range of emotions, and with Black Friday, her connection remains as strong as ever. ~ Timothy Monger