September 19, 2016

EP: Cleo Tucker - Looking Pretty At The Wall

Stream Cleo Tucker's heartbreakingly special solo EP.

Even though something is pretty, it doesn’t make it any less resolute and unshakable. Sometimes when everything is going wrong, it can feel like trying your best to be beautiful is the only thing you can control, even if it’s misplaced. In times when the present seems so flat and the past and future feel overwhelming and relentless, all you have are your experiences, observations, and sense of self. Cleo Tucker tackles these challenging abstract aspects of fresh adulthood in her new self-released EP, Looking Pretty At The Wall. It’s softer and more lush than the releases by her highly acclaimed band with Harmony Tividad, Girlpool, but the tracks are equally uncompromising. These four tiny songs are gentle and poetic in nature but with a certain directness and power that makes this collection heartbreakingly special. 

The opening track “Lucy’s in the Sky” takes on the idea of big city dreaming and the vulnerability that’s inherent when moving to a new place. It offers reassurance in The Beatles reference “I swear I’ll be alright / although Lucy’s in the Sky” but later goes on to explain, again in the words of the pop group, that it’s not that easy (“She’s not ready to Let It Be”). The light fuzz trailing behind follows Tucker’s soft and looming words explaining with veracity the callusing experience of dubbing a new place as home. “Loo” begins with calm layered vocals and acoustic guitar but quickly gains momentum as she snarls, “The same apocalypse / Used to make your mother cry.” The subtle piano behind the sharp electric guitar riff help make this the most no-nonsense track. Tucker brings us back to warm safety by reassuring the subject with “Loo, don’t you lose, know that I love you,” which carries attempted salvation through concern. “The Wall” is the shortest song on the EP, and it starts with a “1, 2, 3 / Will you list it off to me?” that feels like a children’s lullaby with a real underlying message of quiet dissatisfaction. The highlight of this whole release are the lines, “Looking pretty at the wall / O, my mistaken love installed,” which lets the listener in on feelings of unrequited affection through creation. There’s a constant hum alongside Tucker as she recounts this silent and unchangeable unhappiness that she can’t seem to ignore. “Fast Dust” is the final track, and the percussive tom and rim hits add a sense of urgency to Tucker’s story. She narrates a tale of a religious and obedient girl growing up by getting high and wearing makeup, conveying the impossibility of preserving innocence. She sings with a Girlpool-esque sense of urgency nearing the end of the song while shouting into the void that she wants to make “fast dust.” This feels like a restless resolution to Looking Pretty at the Wall, and by that point in the release, you will feel the urge to stir up that which lays dormant in your life as well.


Listen to Cleo Tucker on bandcamp.

Katryn Macko is a Virgo living in Chicago, IL, who was a former member of the bedroom pop band Naps in Tallahassee, FL. She is currently an intern at Flowerbooking, lives at a house venue called Margaritaville, and is the certified #1 fan of the Bud Light Lime-A-Rita brand. She enjoys singing karaoke, beating boys at foosball, and crying to nineties romantic comedies in her spare time.