PHOTO COURTESY OF DEAN CHALKLEY.
Today marks Mary Epworth’s return. Nearly five years following the release of the English musician’s debut album Dream Life, she announces her sophomore record Elytral—due out September 1 via Sunday Best Recordings—with its entrancing first single, “Me Swimming.” Premiering below, it’s an experimental, electronic track grounded by a steady beat. While it arose from Epworth simply writing around a hook she liked, it became a song that embodies “escape,” which for Epworth, always comes back to the sea.
“It did swallow up a really early memory of mine, of first swimming without armbands in a motel pool when I was very small,” explains Epworth of the writing process. “I’ve never forgotten the excitement of that moment.” Lyrically Epworth invites the listener into that recollection (“Look / It’s me swimming”) but leaves space for other’s memories to come forth by remaining sparse and poetic. She also explores another vast blue territory: the sky (“Got to keep my head in the clouds / What to do?”).
Landscapes have been a metaphorical motif in Epworth’s music for some time, which makes her switch to seascapes—constantly flowing, deep, unknown—all the more evocative of the change in her perspective when working on Elytral. “It was a really great and intense time,” she says. “I was working with instruments I don’t usually play, in a much shorter timeframe … I was deliberately very much out of my depth.” The result is a heavier album, she says, within which “Me Swimming” is a lighter song, “a seam of escapism that runs through the darker grind of the rest of it.”
The turning point that Elytral represents for Epworth is a significant one: she’s learned to be less self-critical and embraces a freer approach to making music. “I’m certainly at a point where I want to feel less like every piece of music I make has to be really important,” she explains. “I got caught up in that in the past and it meant I judged everything I wrote before I finished it. At the moment I’m pursuing that feeling of free playfulness and am enjoying seeing where it takes me.”
ELYTRAL (SUNDAY BEST) IS OUT SEPTEMBER 1, 2017. FOR MORE ON MARY EPWORTH, VISIT HER WEBSITE.