Olivesque – Death

When I was 10 years old, the small population of my childhood village gathered on picnic blankets and watched from a grassy hill as the nearby power station cooling towers were demolished. It was a strange sight to behold, seeing these man made volcanoes, relics of a distant past, wilt in slow motion, as they crumbled into tiny specks of dust. Funny how a photograph with seemingly nothing obvious to say, can open up a flood of memories.

Olivesque is the project of 23-year-old North Yorkshire-raised Olive Rees. You may well recognise her as part of Manchester based Nightbus, who arrived in spectacular fashion earlier this year with a sound channelling The XX and the kind of excitable audience murmurs that cause music journalists to make grandiose statements. I’m always wary of hype, I know all too well the dangers of putting pressure on artists before they are fully developed, and I hope the band are allowed the time to discover themselves, as I think the eventual album could be something worth waiting for.

I digress, because I’m actually more excited to talk about Death right now. Death as a subject matter is both an existential crisis and unavoidable reality. In truth I sometimes feel a little like those cooling towers, outwardly strong but ready to be collapsed.

Proving herself to be a multifaceted musician and producer, Rees comforting vocals dance gently with shimmering guitar melodies, before leading you towards a restless darkness. It’s a journey I’m happy to take with her, bringing to my mind the story of Eurydice and Orpheus.

In a note, she writes:

“This was written in peak lockdown and I feel like lyrically I was taking the piss out of my situation in a very romantic but dark way. It started out as a bassline that I had written in my first year of university and labelled ‘Wolf Alice bassline.’ Fast-forward to March 2020 I had begun demoing my own songs on Garage-band – mostly as a coping mechanism during the pandemic.” 

“The lyrics are very reflective of that period and my mindset towards it. There’s something about darkness and melancholy that I really enjoy – rather than finding its depth intimidating, I find it a beautiful thing to sit with and there was a lot of that during the pandemic. There’s a sinister comedic twist to the narrative that is essentially saying take me to hell because it can’t be any worse than this reality. What’s ironic is that summer was actually the best summer of my entire life.” 

Death is available to stream here: Spotify