Ex:Re (pronounced Ex-Ray), otherwise known as Elena Tonra from the band Daughter, recently stepped into the spotlight with the announcement of her self-titled solo album (out February 1), also fittingly titled Ex:Re. Romance, originally an EP single, now fits snugly within the album proudly presenting itself as a city-esque trip into night life escapades. Comparatively, the grunge-y garage band sound of Daughter still rings through, however the mix of more technologically based beats and instruments creates a very different feel from the tracks heard on Daughter releases.
Tonra is no stranger to getting personal with her audience, particularly when it comes to love, and Romance is no different. With a thrumming off-beat guiding the basis of the song alongside a softly worked techno hum, it’s sets the scene perfectly for a late-night club. The song contains a conversational feel from the very beginning, going so far as to start with “And in the night…” as though we’ve just joined into somebody else’s conversation midway through, no explanations necessary. As Tonra begins to delve into her unhappy love, you’re brought directly into the awkward and object-like position that she herself appears to be facing, unsure if you’re meant to be there and yet unwilling to leave, proving to be a good and proper way of getting yourself immersed into the song.
The vocals bring a ghostly haze of half-life to the piece which continues to leave one hooked. The mix of short, sharp phrases with long sustained notes bring out the flavour to the piece of being truly something more than just a mix of techno beats and vocals. The lyrics, particularly at the chorus, bring home the heart of the song and hit exactly the way they’re described, a warning and a message against the kind of love that this song encompasses, driven by night-life and a creeping encompass off needing more: “Romance is dead and gone and it hits between the eyes on this side…”
Other touches, such as the small chords presented by an electric keyboard, and the ever-increasing pace and addition of drums past the first verse almost create an uplifting air to the song in comparison with it’s message and themes, altogether create a unique and involved experience from start to finish.
It will be intriguing to see how Ex:Re fairs in separation from Daughter, but Romance is definitely a night you don’t want to miss.