“The world is mine to keep”: Erika Wester’s Home

erikawesterhomeWhy you need this: music for breaking up with the guy who isn’t that into you but won’t go away

Style: folk-pop, alternative pop (think Sheryl Crow or, if you’re vintage, Marlee MacLeod)

Erika Wester‘s debut record, Home, combines evocative imagery and a subtly wicked sense of humor with ruefully sweet vocals. Produced by Nick Bellmore of Dexter’s Lab Recording, the songs ride elegantly sparse, bright instrumentation that underlines the mood of each phrase with firmness and panache.

These three songs explore themes of collapsing love, with a Gen Z honesty that stakes a quiet claim for personal fulfillment.

Please Don’t Look at Me That Way brings a cheerful groove (underlain with guitar menace) to the things a gal wants to say when she’s really kind of relieved to walk out the door but has to endure that final rehash. The almost lighthearted tone of “I think I’ll always regret it, but there’s nothing to do,” combined with the cycle of confessions and justifications and apologies, repeating with different emphases, perfectly captures the futility and frustration of that break-up conversation.

I Don’t Really Like You Sober is a song of gorgeous details and startlingly offhand frankness. The mood is polite string quartet, the language is poetry (“I thought it’d hold me together, but it just made me bleed” is brilliant) — and then “I don’t really like you sober.” It’s the contrast of all the promise the relationship held, against the need to end it before wasting more time. “Memories of all the sweet nothings” exactly catches the mood of all the love talk that was empty of investment.

Home echoes with emptiness held together by what I assume is guitar but has the crystalline order of harpsichord. The one song that’s about being left rather than leaving, it’s a rueful, yearning dance with a ghost.

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