The Welsh grunge-popper’s titular track from her newest album brings introspection and self acceptance to the forefront of her sound
A steadfast beacon of gritty pop-rock with a heart-rending repertoire of acclaimed EPs and albums under her belt, BRYDE (aka Sarah Howells)’s current presence within pop-rock circles is undeniably strong. Rooted in her early love for the likes of Jeff Buckley, Hole and Deftones, the songs she crafts take further inspiration from the calmer shores of Bon Iver and Cat Power to form deeply introspective songs, painting pictures of misty vistas, a lonely autumnal stroll. Within these themes still beats the raging heart of a punkish youth, dragging drive and desperation to the tones her guitar so often drips with.
Her newest album ‘Still’ promises no exception from this form, looking to explore the different kinds of love we give and receive in our lives. Each track title is bracketed with an allude to the area Howell’s delves into, her newest single acting as a conduit for complete self acceptance, acknowledging the light and dark that forms the full picture of our personalities:
“So many love songs glorify the idea of throwing yourself at someone, the drama, and the pain of love.” says Howells. “I wanted to own up to doing that but acknowledge that there are many other healthier ways to think about love and then start a conversation about it.”
‘Still (shadow)‘ reflects the contemporary side of Howells’ musical identity. Seemingly simple at its core, the gentle introduction of the track lulls a false sense of security into the listener, soothing their soul with warm strings and airy vocals. There’s a dusty cadence, a lone wanderer in a bleak landscape, something Brontë would have on the wireless as she crafted her opus. However, the gentle sigh of crisp percussion brings about a poppy edge to the track, blazing a trail that harkens back to the latter half of her previous albums. The distant growls of her choking guitar emanate from beneath the mix, a reminder of the subtle grunge rage that runs the show in BRYDE‘s world.
Her words harmoniously reflect the track’s bittersweet atmosphere, exploring what it means to accept both light and darkness within ourselves and others in the name of love. It’s something not easily considered, almost a perfectionist’s nightmare: so often we hold ourselves and others to such impossible standards, all in the name of fitting in; we scold the distasteful pars of ourselves that make us human. BRYDE endeavors to break this mold, exercising compassion towards the human condition, encouraging an exercise of self love and personal freedom:
“Do you dance when nobody’s there
Feel a rush as you move the air
Become part of the atmosphere“
“[It’s] a triumphant piece about shrinking the gap between conscious and subconscious,” says Howells
“making friends with your shadow self. The subject of the song; the ‘you’, is both those shadow parts and all the people I love.”
Still is due for release on 15 July 2022 via Easy Life Records.
Watch the lyric video below: