“St. Louis” – Shocking Pinks (ft. Gemma Syme)
I’m still not entirely sure what “St. Louis”, the most recent release from New Zealand artist Nick Harte’s Shocking Pinks project has to do with the city of the same name. Maybe he’s taking a cue from fellow New-Zealander Lorde and writing about Missouri staples. If that’s the case, can we dispatch Kimbra to pen a tune about Imo’s Pizza or see if Neil Finn would sit in for an ode to “the live entertainment capital of the world”, Branson, MO?
Whatever the motivation for the title, it stops mattering when the acoustic guitar scraping and twinkling bells emerge from the blurry background of a photograph into the foreground. Gemma Syme’s voice doesn’t make the transition though; it’s stuck between the two worlds. Phrases like “all these girls hanging ’round” linger in the air like the song’s leisurely synth, while others float away like balloons without ever being heard or seen. But as soft as those lingering phrases are delivered, they hit with the force of Sonny Liston. “At the end of all my days, hope they won’t say I wasted my time,” Syme whispers; every word drenched in regret. We all want the totality of our lives to matter, to leave a footprint on the Earth; no matter how small. “It’s all coming clearer,” she confesses midway through. We can only hope.
Guilt Mirrors, Shocking Pinks’ new triple-LP, drops February 18 through Stars & Letters.