The last time I had mention of Chloe Alison Escott, it was with an entry to Chapter Music’s healing Midnight Meditations compilation. The song was a far cry from Chloe’s work with The Native Cats. While the spare delivery remained, she’d traded propulsive post-punk for a midnight sigh of piano. There was mention of a full album in the same light and now further pieces of that album, Stars Under Contract fall into place. “Back Behind The Eyes” is just as worn, weary, and smudged with rain as her last single and it precedes an album of worn resolve, self-acceptance, and growing into the person you’re trying to be as an adult.
While it seems this one has been bubbling under the skin — a part of Escott’s live repertoire in flux for several years — the feelings finally fit into the emotional puzzle that’s laid out on Stars Under Contract. Escott mentions “I wrote “Back Behind the Eyes Again” 12 years ago. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get around to recording a song, and the lyric and the structure will evolve over that time; in this song I changed one word (“another” to “better”) and it’s otherwise exactly as I played it at shows in my 20s. It’s about drifting in and out of yourself, and about dramatising life with music.”
While the nervous energy of The Cats has been burnt off of these songs, the scars that Chloe brings to light are still there, acting as a thread tying the new album to her past. The song seems like a moment of healing, a reminder not to pick at the wounds, but to be mindful of them to let them heal. The album is out October 16th from Chapter Music.
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