The Greenville, South Carolina indie rock duo Estuarie is comprised of drummer Nick Ilderton and singer-guitarist Graham Peeples. The pair studied jazz together at a local fine arts high school. Even so their main musical passions drove them towards the path of melodic and often ethereal pop music.
Their style is rather confessional both musically and lyrically and one gets the sense that like the water references which have a thematic home all over their debut EP Floodgate, the duo do not tend to hold back any of their emotions, rather they let them flow freely which creates the rather bleak atmosphere on the record.
Floodgate opens with the confessional “Past Life.” The music is sparse and melodic with shimmery waves of guitars and pitter pats of drums. What I liked immediately aside from the tunes sort of throwback to ’80s and ’90s Britpop is the way that it unfolds organically. The pair take their time and let the mood develop on its own.
Then there’s Peeples’s poignantly grim lyricism. “You don't look so good anymore” he begins in his patiently lovelorn drawl, “You're growing old and your clothes are laced with nicotine / I don't think you're quite who I was looking for / But your smile, it sparks a harsh familiar memory.”
This poetic lovelorn lyricism continues on the epicly heartbreaking “Floodgates” which again seems to melodically float along as though it is being borne and not produced. Here Peeples exposes his feelings to the bone, “You lock your doors and you reinforce your walls / So I can break them down on my own / You expect me gone when morning comes / But I’ll sleep on your doorstep until you say to be gone.”
Then we are treated to the acoustic “These Ghosts” which has a slow and folksy finger picked riff which near the ends builds up to a bit more melodicism. Floodgate closes with the shimmery acoustics of “Rain for You” which had a sort of Jeff Buckley sadness to it.
Fair warning Floodgate is an album that is essentially a recovery album. It’s as about as soul-baring as they come. The upside is that the music and production are very good. The downside is that it’s depressing as hell. However that means it’s effective which means Estuarie has done their jobs.
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