July 15, 2016

EP: deer scout - customs

deer scout embraces heartbreak with open arms.

Tucked away in rural Lorain County, Ohio lies Oberlin College. From the people I’ve met that attend the small liberal arts college, one thing is definitely clear: they’re a creative bunch of people. Giving eccentric and gifted artists a free place to collaborate and create has led to some incredible writers, artists, and especially musicians. The latest gem to emerge from the small town campus is musician Dena Miller, who performs under the name Deer Scout. Until this May with the release of her debut EP customs, there wasn’t much material public on Miller’s bandcamp — just two songs give a taste of her past work. Yet, this assumption of inexperience makes this newest release all the more impressive, as customs doesn’t feel immature or inept whatsoever. The four track EP, soaked in themes of love and loss, shows a musician that seems more comfortable with her skill and confident in her emotions than someone who’s only released two original tracks.

Primarily focusing on the end of a relationship, Miller takes the listener through her process of moving on and how that affects how we see our past loves. From dealing with pain in “Little State” to looking back on “Train Song,”  there are plenty of moments on this album that are bittersweet but there are also thoughts on this record that are much more complex. On “Up High,” Miller talks about our tendency to romanticize people in our lives. “I built you up high, I was still too young / I cannot think of better lies to live on,” she sings on the chorus of the track. It’s a habit almost everyone falls for, but it never quite makes realizing it any easier. Yet as sad as customs can feel, there’s something so comforting about it. Laying over her soft twangy guitar, Miller’s vocal performance shows a certain wisdom in it. She could’ve spent the record just spilling out emotions on her heartbreak but this record doesn’t feel like that. It seems like this album comes from a place of acceptance and to her listeners struggling with their own relationships it feels reassuring. It takes a real maturity to write from that place and it’s what makes this record so special. customs might be heartbreaking, yes that’s true, but it’s also so much more than that.


Listen to deer scout on bandcamp.  

Amy Garlesky is a philosophy/political science student and freelance writer based in Cleveland, OH and Burlington, VT. Follow her ramblings on twitter @ayygarl.