January 23rd, 2018 | Album reviews

At The Seams EP

The rich sun-dappled coalescence of cello strings, lap steel, brushed snares, wobbling Wurlitzer and the exquisite voice of Olivia Kaplan has resulted in At the Seams, a supremely polished EP which radiates warmth even as it roves through Kaplan’s unflinchingly frank catalog of “feelings felt in 2015-2016.” Like the weathered wood of a dock, there is a certain combination of give and strength to her measured ruminations on getting by despite of waves of doubt and emotional lows. Her pleading alto and the sophisticated instrumentation supporting it are burnished to a gleam, so deeply satisfying that it’s easy to forget she’s singing from—and about—a place of pain. Each of the six tracks feels connected. They’re diary entries from a singular mind trying to keep itself from sinking into dark water, falling to pieces in a bed, and quietly succumbing to the anguish of being ignored. The EP’s climax comes in the form of a question during the closing track: “How do you get by without getting so low?” There Kaplan lets us in on her secret, perhaps the same power that made her emotional anguish sound so sweet: “Honey, you don’t.”

Christina Gubala