As we look back on music in 2018, female indie-pop artists swarm my mind, with G-Flip, Nicole Millar, Mallrat, Angie McMahon, CXLOE, Amy Shark and E^ST all dominating airwaves. After really making a name for herself in 2017 with glowing single “Life Goes On,” E^ST‘s seven track EP Life Ain’t Always Roses was released last Friday, preempted by four stunning singles, “Blowjob,” “I Don’t Lack Imagination,” “Alien,” and “Friends.” The album seems to encapsulate a week of roundabout emotions, starting with the mundaneness of Monday, rolling in to drunk careless weekends and winding up at reflective, regretful Sundays.
Artists all seem to talk about the honesty that inspired the creation of their albums and the vulnerability in their lyrics. E^ST is no exception to this saying “Every song is super honest and I feel relieved to have written them.” However, Life Ain’t Always Roses is not just honest, but brutally and vividly honest. The seven tracks are all unique but woven together in a narrative surrounding the internal conflicts of navigating seemingly one-sided relationships.
This EP is sectioned in to definite parts, with “Alien,” “I Don’t Lack Imagination,” and “Heaven In My Mind” travelling through feelings of isolation and not fitting in. “Blow Job” and “Pure” follow, discussing the struggle of always giving and never receiving in a relationship. The end of “Pure” builds up to a sense of sticking up for yourself and saying NO, before entirely contradicting that in “Friends” which is all about selflessness and helping others! This seamless transition couldn’t capture any more perfectly the feeling of knowing you’re in a bad relationship but always coming back for fear of being alone. The EP closes cyclically with “Add Break Pastime” describing the emptiness of feeling replaceable by someone you care about.
The EP is an eclectic and melancholy look at young relationships, suck together by E^ST’s bold and brooding vocals and lined with jazzy, glistening production. “Alien” is one of the deeper tracks on the EP, with spacey disjointed sounds demonstrating the idea of a disconnect between the individual and society.
“I Don’t Lack Imagination” brings back the sass we have seen in some of E^ST’s earlier work with a strong beat and scream worthy chorus about accepting that maybe the idea of someone is better than they actually are. “Heaven In My Mind” has a spring lightness and synthy vagueness to it, suiting the idea of being stuck in your own imagination and distant from reality. The charismatic melodies and overall looseness of the track are matched by introspective lyrics like “And in my dreams, I find a paradise.”
“Blowjob” centers the EP, mashing irony, wit, anger and passion in to what turns out to be a beautiful ballad, showcasing E^ST’s captivating voice. Get a bunch of girls with boy problems a tub of ice-cream, singing this song together and they are going to be dangerous – This is the ultimate breakup song! The last two tracks on Life Ain’t Always Roses, “Friends” and “Ad Break Pastime” light up the smoothness and gentle nature of her already stunning voice, opening up a side of E^ST we are dying to hear more of.
E^ST talks about loneliness and isolation, but at least we can be sure she has a good friend in Japanese Wallpaper who helped produce the beautiful track “Ad Break Pastime.” He seems to currently be the most popular producer in the industry, bringing his colourful and mystical sounds to tracks of Mallrat, Allday and a whole heap of other flourishing artists.
Production credit also goes to industry pros, M-Phazes and Dann Hume. These guy must be praised for their clean and unique production which makes this EP more than just another indie-pop record, and shows a new era of E^ST, moving away from more acoustic tracks like “Life Goes On.” She has been around for a while now, but with a new found story telling ability and versatility, this EP is the start of a new era for E^ST who is rocking a powerful but sweet persona at the moment.
Recently she has got the chance to perfect her performance quality and give her songs the stage they deserve, opening for Amy Shark and Panic! At The Disco. Now it’s time for her to be the star, packing up to go on her own headline tour this November.
Overall, this EP is an easy and comfortable listen. Seven songs and seven catchy choruses, packed with vibrant hooks and soothing melodies. WARNING: Life Ain’t Always Roses ages extremely well! Chuck all seven tracks straight in your playlist and make sure you revisit them because these tracks are not done justice after just one listen.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Life Ain’t Always Roses is out everywhere now! For more information about E^ST check out her Facebook HERE.
THE ‘LIFE AIN’T ALWAYS ROSES‘ AU TOUR DATES
Saturday November 3 – Howler, Melbourne
Saturday November 10 – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Saturday November 24 – Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
Thursday November 29 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney