May 9, 2016

EP: Pouty - Take Me To Honey Island

Pouty's reissue of Take Me To Honey Island is even sweeter and saltier.

The Le Sigh first covered Take Me To Honey Island in July 2015, when just three demo tracks were all Pouty needed to make contributor Madalyn Trewin proclaim Rachel Gagliardi’s solo project as “just the right soundtrack for your inner teen.” Last summer, Madalyn swooned over “harmonies that melt into your eyes, ears, the underside of your fingernails,” but the rough cut was only available through Bandcamp for $420.69. Since then, things have only changed for the better. In February 2016, Gagliardi officially reissued Take Me To Honey Island, expanding the EP to six excellent tracks and listing it for $6. And it’s just so good. There’s a delicate, intelligent brattiness about the entire EP, as if Gagliardi is whining but winking at us. She’s expressing her demands, wants, and needs, not quite childishly, but simply. For instance, “I want it now” is a demand worthy of Veruca Salt, but on the lead off track she’s just trying to be honest (And hey, isn’t pouting inherently childish anyway?) Pouty’s use of distorted guitars and layered harmonies often comes close to obscuring her lyrics. Once you’re able to listen, however, you may be taken aback. The sweet, high-pitched voice is tinged with sadness, frustration, and exhaustion at having to constantly explain herself; she’s tired of trying and tired of being misunderstood and tired of just being tired. “How many times will I tell you I feel sad today?” she snaps on the biting, appropriately titled “Sad.” Gagliardi isn’t angry; she isn’t snarky. She’s smart and sad and pouty.

“I feel like I’m stuck/Will I just give up?” Rachel wonders on “Bloom,” and sings “I’m afraid of what I want/Something only for me,” on “Awake.” In my experience, if you’re self-aware enough to worry you’re being selfish, you’re generally in the clear. But on Take Me To Honey Island, you can tell how much she cares. You can hear it, and you can feel it, and you can get to know Gagliardi – who might be best known as half of Slutever – a little better. After all, she holds the sole songwriting credit for all six tracks. And her song titles are brief: Moody. Sad. Bloom. There’s not a lot of mystery here. No overwhelming angst. She just cares about people, and feelings, and feeling okay. She isn’t resigned to giving up, but happily dreams of being whisked away to the mythical Honey Island, where things are cute and artsy and pink and there isn’t anxiety and you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. But there isn’t a Honey Island, unless she’s making a reference to the one in Louisiana which I found through Google and oh my god, there’s a Honey Island Swamp Monster legend and I wonder if she knew that. Take Me To Honey Island is hard to categorize; it’s not just lo-fi pop, or indie, or punk. It’s catchy and sassy and refreshing. If I had to select one genre, I would describe it as a bag of sour cherry gummies. I think she’d be okay with that.


Listen to Pouty on bandcamp.


Sophy Ziss is a writer and feelings-haver based in Philadelphia. Tweet pets and music recommendations to @sophyish.