ALBUM RELEASE: Ex:Re – ‘Ex:Re’
WORDS BY CIERA LITTLEFORD
Elena Tonra, of Daughter fame, has a knack for devastating her listeners. Her solo venture, Ex:Re, is a break-up album guaranteed to make you weepy this winter. At first listen, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is as another Daughter LP, but pay attention and you’ll discover a new, deeply personal perspective from Tonra.
The name of the project is pronounced ‘x-ray’, as it’s a profoundly introspective exploration into the self, following a break-up. Tonra explores the concept of an old relationship being some sort of ghost or specter; the wistful lyrics and somber guitar bring this conception into being.
‘Where the Time Went’ is an apt – and beautiful – opening track, covering a myriad of emotions: the despair-tinged line ‘I will leave this empty-handed’ to the quiet anger of ‘I will ruin you in a second’ sets the tumultuous tone for the rest of the album. ‘Romance’ is an almost seven-minute long hard-hitter, its synths and perkier beats not quite masking the melancholy of Tonra’s husky pleas: “I wanna know who you are, I wanna know who you were”. The lo-fi sounding instrumentation which slowly builds in urgency towards the end, coupled with Tonra’s mournful voice and lyrics, is a combination that secures its listeners; we’ll be staying until the end.
Tonra’s vocals are more prominent on Ex:Re than on her previous studio releases, which is clear on ‘The Dazzler’ and ‘Liar’, which both feature gorgeous vocal melodies; crisp, clear, and contemplative, much like the entire album itself. ‘5AM’, accompanied by piano, and final track ‘My Heart’, characterised by brief silences and the slow repetition of its riff ensure that we’re not coming away from this album on a happy note, which is expected.
Ex:Re offers its listeners a raw and honest depiction of heartache, accompanied by sometimes tender, sometimes intense arrangements. Guitar so delicate it is as if it’s careful not to tread on your already (by the end of the record) fragile state, soft drums, and infrequent but sorrowful strings pepper Ex:Re, creating one forlorn and dreamy affair that you’ll find yourself coming back to.