The phrase “recent history” feels almost like an oxymoron. Something that happened recently is still fresh so it can’t possibly be considered history! But, on the hand, I suppose that every passing second is in the past and could be called history. Everything, really, can shape you whether it happened five minutes ago or five years ago.
Toronto’s Vale Abbott aka Cold Tea explores her past, and more specifically how “young life influences growth,” on her debut EP Recent History. Abbott considers the moments and people that have marked her while wading through light folk sounds. Abbott offers us only sparse details from her past though. Snippets – beautiful eyes, fingers, toes, and a hardwood floor – are given to us but never more. We’re left to fill in the blanks or maybe to use what we are given as a launching off point to think about our own past. Whether that past was something that happened yesterday or ten years ago.
The drum and bass combo on standout “Half-Light” punch holes through your ceiling so the moonlight can flood in. In the moonlight, Abbott parses out her actions and hesitations and sings, “to strip down, to your foibles, gaping.” By the following track “Bare,” she is face to face (body to body) with someone else and admitting to her wants and uncertainties. “I Won’t Love” is a song about how complicated love can be. While it’s not entirely clear what has happened – Abbot admits, “I’m vague and I think about you in the night” – the reoccurring, simple guitar riff at the beginning is like a chalk circle Abbott has drawn around her that the track’s liar is not to cross.
“Outro/Intro” is a curious closer and another EP highlight. It’s a layered two minute track that squeezes in a breadth of years and the frustrating feelings of being too young and then, somehow, too old a breath later.
Top Tracks: “Half-Light” ; “Outro/Intro”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)