Eartheater’s ethereal energy evolves on Phoenix: Flames are Dew Upon My Skin

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Rene Passet | Flickr

Danielle Epel, Arts & Style Editor

Eartheater’s Phoenix: Flames are Dew Upon My Skin delivers a flawless electronic-folk sound to New York City’s bustling experimental scene. The innovative mind behind Eartheater, Alexandra Drewchin, had fans long awaiting her fifth album. Having released “Volcano,” “Below The Clavicle” and “How To Fight” as singles prior to the album’s release, she showed fans a more acoustic side of herself, unlike much of what was heard on her highly acclaimed 2019 mixtape, Trinity.

Phoenix: Flames are Dew Upon my Skin is an amalgamation of ethereal harps, chaotic violins and angelic chamber arrangements meshed in contrast with her expansive vocal range, creating an awe-inspiring sound. Stylistically, the album pays homage to Metalepsis and RIP Chrysalis, both released in 2015. This album, however, masters the art of syncopation and disjunct melodies with heavenly layered rhythms and disjunct melodies.

Whether Eartheater is strumming away at her guitar or her heartstrings, her lyrics’ sincerity and intense tonality reinforces the emotion-driven album. “Airborne Ashes” opens the album to a pure and acoustic confession of her personal growth.

She starts the track with chamber folk, only to wrap her guitar plucking and whispers with a whirlwind of strings. Her combination of instrumental choices perpetuates the album’s theme of a gradual revival of one’s self.

Lyrically, Eartheater remains alluring yet endearing. Through lines like “Hope has a leak for doubt to seep in” in the final song of the album, “Faith Consuming Hope,” her self-reflectiveness allows listeners to feel confided in Eartheater.

The lyrics acknowledge how hope can be the driving force behind ambition but a lack of confidence can greatly hinder that hope. Hearing this from a consistently unapologetic artist sheds light on the difference between reality and facades.

“I’m fixated on a grain of sand. I’m yearning for a speck of sugar,” in “Volcano,” amplified by Eartheater’s eerie harmonization, lets the listener internalize her emotions further. The song expresses her journey into her present self, emerging from a fiery past and into stark self-realization.

Eartheater’s ability to mix her striped and breathy vocals along with the intensity of a conjunct piano on this track exemplifies her unique production style.

She also makes room for electronic interludes with “Kiss of the Phoenix,” “Burning Feather” and “Goodbye Diamond.” These songs teeter on Eartheater’s experimental side by exploring her fusion of timbre and borderline avant-garde electronic elements.

“Kiss of the Phoenix” incorporates everything from the cello to the harp, played by Marilu Donovan of LEYA, to embellish how ethereal chaos can be.

As an artist, Eartheater has never been afraid to take risks with her music with Phoenix: Flames are Dew Upon my Skin being no different.

Instead of telling the listeners her feelings, she sonically paints a picture for listeners to understand them independently.

Holistically, the album contains a range of sounds that come together in uncomfortable ways, letting the audience understand how genres can set limitations on what an album should deliver. This project breaks all boundaries and implores a path of full creative expression.

This project undoubtedly continues to surpass all expectations put on Eartheater. Grimes and FKA Twigs might have to step it up; a new experimental firepower is taking center stage.