ALBUM REVIEW: I'M DOING IT (E^ST)
ALBUM I'M DOING IT // ARTIST E^ST
For anyone who has endured the exquisite pain of a relationship breakdown, or those in need of some lush and raw indie pop to light the way; from pain comes beauty and stunning musicality, as indie pop darling E^ST traverses the arc from heartbreak to growth on her debut album I'M DOING IT that officially unveiled today.
Always driven with her enchanting tunes by her emotional state, Central Coast-based E^ST (aka Melissa Bester) is a mesmerising gem in the Australian music world with her wonderfully whimsical brand of indie pop balancing authenticity with staggering prowess. And while E^ST is no stranger to a myriad of successes (having been at the heart of a label bidding war at the age of 16, supporting the likes of Panic! At The Disco and Twenty One Pilots and blowing the competition out of the water with her Like A Version cover of Bittersweet Symphony back in 2015), the staggering fact behind this truly gifted artist is that while she has traversed so many highs and lows in her musical career, she has done so without having even released a debut album - and all by the age of 21. But while a new year usually brings a new chapter for all of us, it also delivers a brand new phase for E^ST as she finally approaches her debut album release, with I'M DOING IT officially dropping today.
Kicking off with glitching serenity, E^ST draws you immediately into an intimate and starkly personal world with Fit For Company offering a short, sharp ode to one emerging from a relationship's demise. With swooning synths, subdued organs and E^ST's radiant vocals, the opening interlude opens up into the jaunty Flight Path. Bustling with snappy beats, perky pianos and a lick of autotune, Flight Path may on the surface appear to be just a catchy ditty with its clicks and dance-tastic wiles, but the track also brandishes weightier narratives as E^ST grapples with the sensation of alienation from someone you once loved.
The jauntiness continues as E^ST flexes her dance whims on the pulsing Maybe It's Me before dipping into smoother waters with the serene Found Somebody as E^ST floats over a stripped-back electronic backdrop. And while the previous tracks undoubtedly showcase E^ST's capability of crafting lush earworms, it's on the dazzling Fresh Out Of Love that we find a goldmine of retro beauty. From flickering strings to lilting (and far less auto-tuned) vocals, Fresh Out Of Love may just be one of the best anti-love songs that is heavy on the swoon and the bittersweet charm as it drizzles like warm honey into your soul - and quite fittingly, E^ST released this very tune on Valentine's Day earlier in the year.
Another case of the feels follows with I'm Not Funny Anymore stripping right back to E^ST over a simple piano backing. It's hard not to be transfixed by E^ST's unbridled fragility as she bares her soul on this goosebump-inducing ballad, and it's proof that while E^ST can hurl the bells and whistles at her tracks with the best of them, she's equally enthralling when stripped to the absolute basics - and the vocal control on this young artist is truly something to behold.
But for those worried this is just going to be a tale of bleak heartache, I'm Doing It takes a literal turn midway through with the aptly titled track Turn marking a shift from wallowing to finding that flickering light to spark hope and new beginnings. From here we journey with E^ST as she finds her emotional feet amid increasing textures and more invigorated tempos. From the electric dance bops (Talk Deep, Get Through) to nostalgic pop (No One With You) and stripped-back hooks (Walking Home In The Rain), it's a fascinating journey of ear candy and empowerment as E^ST brandishes authentic narratives with oscillating electronic and stark production, ultimately building to the closing two album tracks.
Penultimate track I Wanna Be Here is the anthem we all need as E^ST wrangles a perky piano line into an assured and tremulous bopper laden with optimism and cheer, and just the right amount of reality for those struggling for survival. And while it's no surprise that the album's title track I'm Doing It is a culmination of the overall narrative journey, it's a welcome display of sparkling songwriting, effortless control and resolution that concludes proceedings with soft charm and dynamic grace.
It's an understatement to declare E^ST as "one to watch" or "the next big thing"; this is an artist who has already transcended the ingenue trope and ricocheted into a whole new career stratosphere where the possibilities are boundless. At such a young age, E^ST has found sonic refuge with a fusion of vulnerability with irresistible likeability, and I'M DOING IT is a masterclass in empowerment and dynamic songwriting that sets the foundations for a long and illustrious career ahead. For those who have loved, lost or just dared to dream - I'M DOING IT is the soundtrack to finding your metaphorical way home - and self discovery has never sounded so sweet.
E^ST'S DEBUT ALBUM I'M DOING IT IS OFFICIALLY OUT IN THE WORLD NOW, FOR MORE INFO HEAD HERE!
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BY TIANA SPETER