“I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know why I’m here,” sings Jess Tollestrup in the closing track from their EP The Pluto Year. The EP’s title also invokes a sense of uncertainty: when Pluto was no longer classified as a planet, the rug was pulled out from under us and suddenly what we learned in elementary school was not true. The concept of a pluto year makes me think that Tollestrup went through a year of uncertainty and change.
But despite the anxieties on the EP, Tollestrup remain steady. Perhaps when looking back at the so-called pluto year, Tollestrup is able to turn their shakiness into steadiness. On the opener “Lilith’s Orchard,” the soft guitar picking acts like the gentle rain that falls in early spring as seeds begin to sprout into something beautiful, it just takes a little time. On “No” – a spoken-word piece – Tollestrup’s “no” becomes louder and larger as the song continues. “I am rising,” they repeat throughout, playing with their voice so the statement is like many different people are coming together to rise.
The highlight of The Pluto Year is the third track, “I’ll Send Myself To Heaven.” It’s a creepy sounding song and Tollestrup sounds like they are stalking the halls of an old house – a ghost that is reluctant to be at peace. Tollestrup’s wails are not necessarily despondent though. Sure, they are singing about dying but they also repeatedly proclaim, “I’ll send myself to heaven because I know what I’m worth.” A dark but powerful declaration of self-worth. Kind of like the EP as a whole.
Top Track: “I’ll Send Myself to Heaven”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)