It might be a slightly delayed piece about this particular release from last year (due to not having a dedicated space for our reviews back then), but we simply could not pass up the opportunity to talk about Soot Sprite’s latest record.
Released through Specialist Subject Records, ‘Poltergeists’ is the third EP from the local trio.
We originally reviewed the band’s first release, ‘Comfort in Concrete’, in early 2019 in issue one of our print publication, this was near the beginning of Soot Sprite’s formation when it solely consisted of Elise Cook. The band has now grown, both in terms of members (now into a trio), but also with the maturity of their sound. Alongside, Elise on guitar and lead vocals, the band includes, Sean Mariner with bass /backing vocals and on drums is Tom Gilbert.
A very much overdue Uncovered update from one of the finest local groups we have become extremely fond of with each new release.
‘Poltergeists’ sees the local trio at their most cohesive as a band thus far. With each release, the level of their musicianship and songwriting has heightened and it’s a true delight to hear. A six-track EP takes us on a range of relatable emotions, with Cook’s signature vocal style shining through with each note.
For us, the stand out track is a rather difficult one to pinpoint, as this is such a wonderfully complete EP, with not a single skippable single. But for this piece, we have chosen, ‘Assisted Thrills’. The way that it kicks off the record in the most flawless way, shows Soot Sprite at its absolute best.
The initial heavy picking of the lead guitar, (which continues intermittently during the track), has such a delightfully unique sound, alongside the perfect percussion from Tom Gilbert, of course, then add in those incredibly distinctive vocals and we not only have the best this band have sounded thus far, but instantaneously we are aware that this is a Soot Sprite record.
“If I’m assisted thrills does my voice give you the chills”.‘Assisted Thrills’
We were keen to include a track by track of the EP in this piece from Soot Sprite’s very own Elise Cook, alongside the review. It always adds a different dimension to the piece when hearing from the band themselves, in one form or another.
POLTERGEISTS TRACK BY TRACK
It’s about entering a relationship with someone that doesn’t care about you and about not having the experience to realise that your self-worth doesn’t revolve around how others treat you, and all the anxiety and crippling self-doubt those relationships can bring you.
This song was written about that gooey teenage feeling you get when you meet someone new, and how the excitement of that can make you miss all the red flags. That all-consuming feeling can make you lose focus on everything except making that person want you more.
It’s Summer And I Don’t Feel Like Smiling
It’s about that stage in recognising your mental health stretches beyond SAD, and the dread and depression we all experienced during the pandemic. Although it was mostly written the previous year, it all came together in that weird collective mental state of 2020 (and 2021).
I wrote this towards the end of a relationship just before the first lockdown, and how it made me feel like the problem was with myself and my own baggage and how I felt it would be difficult for someone to love me. I blamed myself and not my emotionally manipulative partner. And it made me feel incredibly alone.
Alone Not Lonely
This was one of those epiphany moments, where I realised that alone I was not just okay but I was thriving, and it wasn’t down to anyone else except myself. It was that realisation of self-love and owning my accomplishments in life, that came out in this form of pure joy that I needed to put into song.
This was maybe that point we all reached during the lockdown where no one was themselves anymore and every day just felt the same and looking at the walls and reminders on social media of the life I was living up until before that point, and how it felt like being haunted by a life I wasn’t sure we would be able to return to.
It was fantastic to hear the inspiration behind the EP on the songwriting front. It’ll be brilliant to hear what will unfold next for this wonderful trio and we certainly look forward to featuring Soot Sprite much more in the future on Exeter Uncovered.
*Feature image captured by – Tavis Amosford.