Jul 08, 2021
By Caleb Campbell
After Alyse Vellturo left the prestigious Berklee College of Music, she spent years in the business half of the music industry, working in management and distribution. She only began releasing music as pronoun in 2016 with her debut EP, there is no one new around you. 2019 brought her long-awaited full-length record, i’ll show you stronger, launching her mix of bedroom pop, emo, and sparkling indie rock to new heights. And then, the pandemic took hold.
Now, with America approaching a degree of normalcy once again, Vellturo is finally back, ready to celebrate with her new EP, fittingly titled OMG I MADE IT. As Vellturo describes the EP, “It’s as if I bumped into an old friend who asked how I have been and I just started vomiting for 18 minutes and 9 seconds.” It’s most definitely an apt description, as Vellturo holds nothing back on OMG I MADE IT. She lays bare every innermost nagging thought, downtrodden confession, and moment of cautious hope, all set against Vellturo’s most dynamic songwriting yet.
True to form, Vellturo once again wears her heart on her sleeve. Her biggest inspirations run back to the early 2000s, to the days of Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, or Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World. But these influences stretch further than the reverb-drenched sound. In fact, what Vellturo lifts most directly from the era is less the style than the complete commitment to earnest and brilliantly messy confessionals. The worst of that era could be cloyingly saccharine and painfully boring, but OMG I MADE IT is thankfully anything but lifeless.
When Vellturo debuted as pronoun, she leaned into the understated, bedroom pop aesthetics; all lower-case typeface, raspy vocals hidden low in the mix. That may be the biggest point of departure now. OMG I MADE IT is most definitely not understated. In fact, the record fittingly opens with the wail of a siren before launching into “SOUND THE ALARMS!!!1!.” Vellturo sets a relentless pace with the opener, following quickly with “I’M RIGHT BACK IN IT” and “I WANNA DIE BUT I CAN’T (CUZ I GOTTA KEEP LIVING),” all shouting their intentions and laying bare their pain amidst some of Vellturo’s most outright anthemic songwriting yet. They’re pure bombast, crafted with cathartic cries, sky-scraping choruses, and sparkling guitars in mind.
Vellturo lets up somewhat later in the tracklist, with chiming indie pop worthy of The 1975 on “HALF OF THE TIME” and the comparatively spacious closer “WASTE OF TIME,” ending the EP on a gentler note. Though the pace draws back slightly from the EP’s initial breathless rush, the closing tracks are still bursting with pitch-perfect pop sensibilities. “HALF OF THE TIME” hits its apex with an indelible joyous key change for one final chorus, while Vellturo gets an assist from Future Teens guitarist Amy Hoffman for a sing-along finish to the EP on “WASTE OF TIME.”
As much as the record’s sound aims higher than ever, the lyricism is some of Vellturo’s most bluntly direct and quietly devastating. She dispenses with empty subtlety, opting instead for powerful declarations of pain and hope. The effect is simple and cutting as Vellturo confesses “I just feel like dying” on “SOUND THE ALARMS!!!1!” and cries out the titular refrain of “I WANNA DIE BUT I CAN’T (CUZ I GOTTA KEEP LIVING).” Yet, Vellturo navigates anxiety and depression with a defiant heart, looking for hope in her darkest moments and, every once in a while, finding a small measure to cling to. In doing so, the record becomes both a cathartic memoir and a celebration of perseverance.
No question, the EP could not be better timed, working both as a document of where Vellturo has been in her time away, and as a sunny celebration for everybody who has managed to struggle through the trials of the past year and a half. Vellturo’s latest effort as pronoun is both her most compulsively catchy set of songs and a cathartic communal celebration of making it through to see another day. (www.musicpronoun.com)
Author rating: 7.5/10
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