REVIEW: Palehound- ‘Dry Food’


Ellen Kempner may still be in her early twenties,  but her lyrics and way with a melody line are incredibly assured.

With songs that contain as many mood swings as sassy one-liners,this debut album from the talented Boston lady would be impressive enough from a third album.

The title track is world-weary and elegiac, with Kempner sighing to a haunting keyboard line,”Never a day to spend alone”-a very modern problem for any city dweller.  It’s beautiful, lazy and sad-eyed, Kempner coming on like a younger Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power. She sounds at times like her  little sister. She shares the same lucidity to her lyrics, like spat out diary entries which veer between banality and beauty .

Easy has one of the best lines I have heard in a song all year, this side of Ezra Furman’s release of Ordinary Life . She snarls, ”I’m pushing back your tongue/with my clenched teeth home security system”. I believe her.

Cushioned Caging is sheer fuzzy pop bliss,whereas Molly‘s propulsive, sugary tang makes it one of the singles of the year,thus far.

Whoever declared guitar-based indie pop dead was wide of the mark. With a whole new generation,  including Pins, Tuff Love, Sunflower Bean and Dilly Dally making melodic exciting rackets, Palehound are right out in front, leading the charge. It’s like 1991 all over again, but with more focus, and less ironic Girl Scout t shirts and hair clips.

(Lorna Irvine)

Ellen Kempner-400x266

Out on March 4th, Heavenly Recordings





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