November 14, 2016

EP: Painted Zeros - Daylily

Daylily is a natural progression of Katie Lau's work as Painted Zeros.

What makes me so affectionate towards Katie Lau’s songwriting is her ability to capture emotional reactions that are usually shelved from being written. She frequently covers the moments that happen in between the grand occasions of falling head-over-heels and heartbreak. Daylily is Painted Zeros’ follow up EP to their debut full-length Floriography, but the three-track minikin EP feels very much like a footnote to the sensibilities that Lau sketched out on all of her previous works. 

“III. BRams and KyrKeGuard, B Major” gently washes the listener up on Lau’s shore. The first track serves as an intro to guide us onto her turf where we’ll remain for the rest of the EP. The intro is quite expansive for a song that's only one minute and fifteen seconds long. It starts with the audio of calming waves, less like those of an ocean and more like those of a small secluded stream. The sounds of the waves and the overlapping extrinsic kaleidoscope sounds pit the natural and otherworldly against one another. Over this backdrop, Lau speaks in a kind of blank verse, like a poet at an impromptu reading. It does well to clear the mind from other noise or distraction that could interfere with Lau having the full stage and our full attention. “Taking advantage / Just want attention” are the first proper spoken lyrics on the EP, and the opening lines of “Love Triangle (I was Jolene).” Once she has the attention, she’s brutally honest to say, “I don’t care who you fuck with, knowing she comes first is what hurts." We’re pulled into an expression of astonishment at the fact that she played the real life character of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” As a whole, the track is exquisite harmonized pop. The echoing vocals give an eerie sense of a recent realization, and there are many layers to sort through after the initial shock settles.

The intensity of the track mirrors “Jaime” on Painted Zeroes’ brilliant debut EP S V A L B A R D. We don’t often get to hear Lau in the thick of a blood rush, but aren’t those truly passionate moments that stand out over time so few and far between? The final track, “Beyond A Chemical Reaction,” is a pensive introspective track that seems to retell the untold story of “Too Drunk” on S V A L B A R D. It’s the internal dialogue that either happened right after, or right before the chanting of “too drunk to function, too drunk to function” (but, more likely right after). The track begins with “When I walk into the party, I do not feel at home… so sick of feeling like my voice does not belong;" a sentiment that’s blunt, honest, universally felt and, more than ever, commonly admitted. I wouldn’t advise anyone to listen to it when they’re feeling really distressed, unless you like to feel like a pincushion being steadily pricked with stinging truths. The daylily is known to be a perfect perennial because of its resilience to changing conditions. Painted Zeros has always dwelled nicely in their vulnerability, because their resilient enough to go there with their music.


Listen to Painted Zeros on bandcamp.

Written by Brooke Segarra