SOURTOWER on her debut Whispers Between Us concocts catchy tunes to get you ruminating
This piece is a review of the Beijing-based indie singer-song writer SOURTOWER’s debut album, Whispers Between Us.
Whispers Between Us was released on July 15th via the Beijing indie label nugget records.
Somber yet cheerful. Simple yet intricate. Electric yet primal. Vulnerable yet resilient.
From beginning to end the Beijing-based indie musician/producer SOURTOWER’s debut album Whispers Between Us is a deep-dive meditation into the monotonous nature of modern life and how paradoxical the human condition is. With candid yet philosophical lyrics, the ten tracks on SOURTOWER’S second release are an aural exhale, reflecting on what it means to exist in this day and age and throughout the various stages of life.
Throughout the entire opus you can’t help but get sucked into the soundscape that SOURTOWER has created through the intentional manipulation of intricate, primal sounds and thoroughly spilling her guts.
Expressing a strong sense of being on the verge of an existential crisis, the lyrics of the opening track, “An Office Girl and Office Girls and Girls,” (internally) scream not only about the anxiety of playing out a mind-numbingly dull existence but also about just existing as a woman. Other songs also seem to refer to the experience of being a woman in a patriarchal society, such as “Stuck Inside The Room.” At least, that’s my take away from lyrics that depict being imprisoned and screaming your truth essentially into a black hole.
After listening to Whispers Between Us almost constantly on repeat since its July 15th release, the one song that has really resonated with me is “I’m Still Here.” With lyrics that are an introspection on being an independent soul and not understanding why you're stuck in a state of solitude, the song is, personally, a little too close for comfort. But that’s one of SOURTOWER’s charms as a musician. Through the tasteful blending of darkwave, shoegaze, jazz, electronica and dream pop, SOURTOWER’s headfirst dive into the darker side of the human condition is not for the faint of heart. With infectious beats that are impossible not to get up and groove to, SOURTOWER artfully shines a warm glow on the acidic parts of being, but in a lovely offbeat and eclectic way.
The bleak whimsicality is most visually present in the music videos for tracks such as “Let’s Waste a Day From 3pm” which was illustrated by Jen Rao, visual artist and co-founder of nugget records, the indie label that has disturbed both How Many Times?, SOURTOWER’s 2020 EP, and Whispers Between Us. Using bright colors that are reminiscent of Crayola crayons from childhood, the MV’s animation of cats having a deeply inquisitive conversation is brilliantly playful.
It’s clear from the first beat to the last fade out on Whispers Between Us that SOURTOWER has created an opus from a place of honest humanity and beautiful vulnerability. In other words, Whispers Between Us is SOURTOWER wearing her heart on her sleeve and allowing us to experience life in her shoes.