Featured Image: Lucky Iris
With a name like ‘Turns Out We Should Have Stayed at Home’, you might expect Lucky Iris’ debut EP to refer to our current, confined reality. However, they began work on this EP last summer… and if you can remember, that was when we were allowed outside of our houses! The duo consists of Maeve Florsheim and Jasper Exley, former members of the band Everyday People. Their new project focuses more on minimalist pop than the jazz-infused style, that dominated their earlier music. However, what makes Lucky Iris special, is the way Florsheim’s soulful voice and Exley’s jazz-influenced keyboard playing, shapes their new direction. Turns Out We Should Have Stayed at Home is actually a concept EP – an impressive creation for a first release – that retells the story of a night that should never have happened.
Each track explores a different element of that dreaded night out. The opening song, ‘Get Ready with Me’, is an observation on the way people present themselves to the world. It talks about hiding who you really are, stifling your childhood dreams and even having to conceal your opinions as a woman. Florsheim speaks the truth, singing, “Aren’t we all just trying to be someone? We’re always trying to change.” She argues we should be who we want to be, rather than simply changing to please others. She implores us to love who we are, rather than be something we’re not.
The idea behind ‘Take 5 (Why Can’t You See Me?)’ is immediately evident from its title. It shares the pain of having someone you love, take no notice of you and how isolated this can make you feel. ‘Glitter Vision’ is the outcome of the story so far, describing how she dances alone to prove her independence, instead of admitting her loneliness. Her “Glitter Vision” is the club’s bright lights blurring her eyesight… perhaps, representing the way she hides her problems from herself. However, she cannot block out her issues forever. The final track, ‘I Fell Backwards’, reveals her true pain: how exhausting it is, constantly pretending to be happy, and how betrayed she feels by her friends. These feelings are very relatable. Too many times, songwriters forget that even the smallest events can feel devastating. A sad song does not need to be about a disaster; it needs to be about real life.
However, the EP isn’t purely unique in its themes, but in the variety of genres that can be heard on the record. Lucky Iris’ experimentation with pop music could have easily been a catastrophe, but we needn’t have worried – there is something for everyone. ‘Get Ready with Me’ is the track which will surely stay glued to your mind; it’s filled with unforgettable electronic riffs. The drama of the track is found in the contrast between the upbeat ostinatos that run through most of the song, and the sudden, dark piano chords that make up the rest.
The jazz influences in ‘Take 5’ really come out in Exley’s piano playing during the chorus. However, it is the slow staccato chords and walking bass that create the trapped feeling that is echoed in its lyrics. Perhaps the most effective part of the song is near the very end, where Florsheim’s vocals echo ominously, evoking her loneliness.
‘Glitter Vision’ was certainly the biggest risk that Lucky Iris took. It almost resembles a Billie Eilish track, with its clicking drum beat, low register and intermittent moments of vocal harmony. Make sure you keep listening to the very end when the bassline really reaches its peak. Afterwards, the mood completely shifts towards a sombre, Adele-inspired piano ballad to sum up the EP’s themes.
The band may have been unable to record any new music in lockdown, however, they have by no means stopped clawing their way to success. Instead, they have been releasing acoustic versions of their tracks on YouTube, and Exley has also been producing remixes. Their ability to transfer their music to other styles demonstrates the amount of skill that has gone into their songwriting.
Whilst we love their brilliant electro-acoustic sound, Exley’s remixes do offer a different perspective on their music. So far, he has published a fresh version of ‘Get Ready with Me‘, featuring synthesisers and basslines, which appear to be reminiscent of Tame Impala. Throughout the track, they shift rapidly in volume, creating a wonderfully disorientating effect. It is this psychedelic style which exposes the dislocation she feels from her true self. The chorus is made so much more impactful by the tranquillity of the pre-chorus. After fading to nothing, the constant presence of an electronic organ creates an almost otherworldly effect. This combined with distant echoes of Florsheim’s voice, signifies how lost she feels in a world of falsehoods. Still, that original ostinato can often be distinguished in the background: a reminder that she will find sincerity and her own identity. When the beautiful minimalism of the original recording returns at the end, it gives hope to the listener. We can only assume she has found her way. The embellished version of the track is just as effective at portraying Florsheim’s raw emotions.
If every future Lucky Iris EP can tell stories as well as Turns Out We Should Have Stayed at Home, it won’t be long before the duo are big players in the world of pop music. Make sure to take ten minutes out of your day to embrace their soothing, soulful and melancholic style. Not only can we not wait to hear the next exciting concept to be delivered by this band, but we’re also thrilled to see what else we can discover about their latest release, through Exley’s remixes. Lucky Iris is ready to make jazz cool again.
Turns Out We Should Have Stayed at Home is available on all streaming platforms.