EP Walkthrough: Erthlings dissect their long-awaited debut EP, Indigo
It caps a big year - almost exactly - since the Sydney four-piece broke out with their debut single, Bridges.
Header image by Ellen Virgona.
It's been a big year for Erthlings. Almost exactly a year ago, the Sydney-based four-piece arrived out of nowhere with their debut single Bridges - a seemingly overnight success story that catapulted the four teens into the national limelight, thrown there by Future Classic - the infamous tastemaker label who took the group on straight away. Since then, they've blossomed into one of the country's finest acts, doing so through exciting follow-up singles - Cuts & Bruises being a personal highlight of last year, and their single with Basenji, Perfect Blue, is incredibly anthemic and catchy - and touring which has taken them everywhere from BIGSOUND to Splendour to arenas with Amy Shark and intimate venues with Clairo.
Now, a year on, the group have matured, grown and evolved into something remarkably special and on their debut EP, Indigo, this all comes to light. It's a brilliant five tracks that encompass everything we've come to love from Erthlings over the year just gone and how they've evolved in the time since, capturing their break-outs - Bridges, Cut & Bruises - and placing them side-by-side with exciting glimpses of the future, with Returning - an EP highlight - and the two remaining unreleased cuts welcoming their brilliance and every facet of their work that it may shine through.
While Bridges and the joyous Cuts & Bruises are two obvious highlights that launched Erthlings into national favourites, the remainder of the EP welcomes a glimpse into their future, showing their sound may evolve in the years to come as they mature and grow into one of the country's most exciting bands. There's Cloud Nine, a dreamy moment of euphoria that hints at something deeper and Go Ahead, a brooding moment that's somehow relaxed at the same time; but the EP's aforementioned moment of unreleased brilliance comes through on Returning - a sign of just how far the combination of Issy, Jessame, Taylor and Lissa can go.
It's a drifting ballad that sits between the subtleness of Bridges and Cuts & Bruises bouyant bounce, with the group's Taylor Shutes saying that it's a track that's been a long time in the making, growing as the girls who brought it to life grow alongside it. "I started writing the initial melody for Returning when I was 12 - it was stuck in my head and wouldn’t go away," she says on the track. "We started playing it live and it always got a great reaction. Four years later it’s evolved to where it is now. We’re really excited about how it turned out and ready to share."
There's plenty more to come as Erthlings begin to find their footings, but for now, dive into Indigo below with a track-by-track walkthrough from the girls themselves, who walk us through the EP's inner-themes and creation one song at a time.
Returning might seem like some classic love story about a complicated, fluctuating relationship but in all honesty, we were about nine years old when we wrote it and our lives just weren’t that interesting. The story was more likely about Tay’s cat than an actual person. In fact, the original reason for the name Returning was because it started as an annoyingly catchy melody that was stuck in our heads. The song itself was ‘always returning’!! It’s cool to see that a simple idea can be made to seem bigger than it is.
Bridges was one of the first songs we ever wrote collaboratively. We started with one guitar melody that we somehow found through a series of random mistakes and the rest just flowed from there. Considering that we didn’t have many life experiences at the ripe old age of 11 or 12, we began writing bridges about the classic relationship scenario. It's all about moving on and letting go of something or someone even when you find it incredibly hard to do so.
The meaning behind Cloud Nine developed as we wrote the song, it started with a completely random vision of neon lights changing colour in a massive field, nonsense basically. We somehow turned that dream-like, euphoric setting into a concept about something ‘not being real’. It then became about someone who refuses to see the whole reality of a situation, living in sheltered ignorance and only viewing the matter from their single perspective because it’s easier than facing the complicated truth, something much deeper than we originally intended.
Before Go Ahead, we hadn’t really written much about our own experiences, but after a period of being surrounded by people who continued to let us down, we had a classic moment of Erthlings sass and channelled it into a song. It was basically us coming to terms with the fact that we weren’t seeing much progress anymore and needed to take control over our own situation. Writing this song literally had us on our feet, shouting ideas left, right, and centre, getting out everything we wanted to say. It’s a mystery how such a fired-up process formed such a chill song but the impact is all the same to us.
CUTS & BRUISES
This one was literally the first song that Issy ever wrote which is kind of interesting! We would be absolutely bored shitless of this song if it didn’t pop off so much when we play it live lol. We all kind of believe that songwriting is really just exaggerating situations and this is a really good example of that. Nine-year-old us would’ve had some misunderstanding with a friend and become all moody so decided to write this slightly emo banger. This song has taken us pretty far and has come to mean different things to us as we experience more, so we’re so grateful for it in that way.
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