With the release of the single “Dark Shade”, Darwin’s Tapestry gained an influx of attention. Their powerful and emotional take on rejection and abandonment clearly struck a chord with many, and seemed to surpass the attention received by their previous release Growth (2016). Consisting of Ben (drums), Luke (guitar), Darcy (guitar), Connor (bass), and Tom (vocals), the collective of Tapestry considered “Dark Shade” to be a re-ignition of energy into the band. In our interview, Tom shares that it is “the track initiating where we started to take it more seriously”.
Ghost of Me is intended to continue what “Dark Shade” introduced; with a “more direct take on the same concept”. As the band edges closer to The Mortal Coil tour with Polaris, they are hoping that this ‘test run’ of their sound in Ghost of Me resonates well with listeners, making way for a confident full length release in the future.
The first of Ghost of Me‘s seven tracks is “Sleepless”, which opens with a beautiful soundscape, feeling like it reaches out into the distance. Gentle guitar and melodic accents combine in layers, with this track that feels like the experience of introspection in the early hours of the morning; those quiet hours where we face things we don’t necessarily want to feel, or recognise in ourselves. Vocal warmth acts like a blanket of honesty that soon becomes raw, in this track that flows directly into “Ghost”.
Opening with looped riff and an intertwining feel of complexity, the roared vocals and searing riffs of “Ghost” call for something more/else in a situation of unease and frustration. “Ghost” expresses the emotional torture in the silence that remains after separation. This inner world was captured in the music video by Crystal Arrow Films, where kaleidoscopic vibrance evolves into shattering transparency.
Mentally haunted by a vanished lover, “Ghost” explores the aftermath of being left alone. Soaring guitar artistry tears powerfully at the heartstrings, with spacious moments leaving a palpable sense of isolation. Clean vocals that are achingly vulnerable, along with raw frustration in screams, fittingly express the internal torture that Tapestry are sharing.
The third track, “Life in Delusion” is heavy-hearted from its beginning, with muffled thuds and ominous soundscapes. As the vocals join in, they unfold the experience of adapting to and handling an inner fight. With poetic yet honest lyrics, “Life in Delusion” offers insight behind choices made to self-medicate, in what seems to be a war between the mind and survival. Something to sedate and blur the sharp edges of life, as a ‘temporary fix for all the pain, medicated just to forget’ is a brief escape from the clutches of the mind and the ‘cage’ of life. Sharing its message with strong choruses, beautiful instrumental moments, and vocal diversity, “Life in Delusion” is an important track, which will resonate with many.
“Retrospect” is brighter in sound, and feels more still; where compared to the complexity of “Life in Delusion”, the song’s narrator/Tom is able to be more present with himself. With gorgeous melodic guitar, it’s soon apparent that “Retrospect” is an open letter to a past lover. While sounding relatively pretty at first, “Retrospect” heads into very raw territory, when the heavy and pained absence of this person hits fully.
“I’m finding it hard to cope without you
I’m sorry I had to be this way”
What began as a gentle apology unfolds into living agony being described, with the song climbing in heaviness musically also. You could see “Retrospect” as elaborating on “Life in Delusion”, where mentally distracted and confused days, far too empty nights, and all of the self-talk that happens in between, are a cage he’s contained within and feels like he can’t do anything about. The final verse hits hardest, with self-blame hitting peak severity and formed into a reason for him to feel unworthy of life itself.
“Ember” gave me goosebumps when considered as an extension of “Retrospect”. It is pure reminiscing, with delicate and easy chords of a lone guitar. I’m typing this with literal goosebumps on my arms, listening to the descriptions of the little things about this person, who is no longer around (based on the past-tense). The shift at “Fixed me when I needed you to”, layered vocals and soundscapey spaciousness make the 2.5 minutes of “Ember” feel really special, even in its simplicity.
“Dark Shade” has practically been on repeat ever since I first heard it. I was personally going through an experience of distrust because of a disintegrated friendship at the time the track was released, and the lyrics seemed to be speaking directly to me. Gently and honestly, “Dark Shade” lyrically paints a picture of what life is like when being lived by someone where abandonment and disconnection is so common that it seems like a given in any current or future relationships. It’s not whether or not they’ll leave, it’s a matter of when.
“No one ever needed me
I’ve always been left to suffer on my own”
The bitter pill to swallow lyrically is a thoroughly enjoyable one sonically. “Dark Shade” flows from beginning to end and takes the theme and runs with it, exploring it from all angles. From gentle beginnings, as well as curious twists of self-observation (“My mind frets unprovoked”), “Dark Shade” hits its full running stride at its anthemic choruses which declare a ‘burning desire’ to break free of a pattern of abandonment. It’s beautifully backed by an achingly confrontational pre-chorus section (“Cause no one ever needed me“) and a blistering bridge where ache hits roars of frustration (“TEACH ME HOW TO LOVE CAUSE I HAVE GIVEN UP!”). Closing with gang vocals as the focus of the final chorus is satisfying in the fact it is so very un-alone; a hint of hope, ‘You’re not alone’.
The EP ends on a crushing high, with the final track “Love/Deception” being a fast paced attack on a former lover. “My love for you was my deception” captures the track title and essence of the song, where his efforts in the name of love became his undoing. In placing trust in this person who broke promises, he’s left hurting (a la “Dark Shade”) and realising his blindness in not seeing how he was deceived.
“I was in doubt
And you promised me you loved me
Just days before you walked out
See how little your promises mean to me now”
Where “Ember” is an affectionate moment of reminiscing in separation, “Love/Deception” is the inverse, where hatred burns through him and he wants her to hurt, as he is left hurting because of her. It’s a blistering end of the EP, with pockets of contemplation in amongst the fire and wondering if his own destruction would be enough for her, because of pain of his own not-enoughness.
So yeah, in absorbing the EP, it seems that this ‘test run’ of an EP for Tapestry is going to go just fine! With “Dark Shade” as our introduction, Tapestry are showcasing an emotion-centric sound that is versatile enough to skillfully go from gentle and intimate, through to aggressive intensity. Gorgeous soundscapes and layered vocals add depth and weight to the emotion being shared, with satisfying shifts along the way that keep curiosity and interest high.
Constantly curious about what inspires the music I hear, I reached out to Tom and asked whether the songs of Ghost of Me related to one specific relationship. Tom shared: “”Ghost”, “Retrospect”, “Ember”, and “Love/Deception” are all different takes on how I felt about the person. But “Retrospect” also has a take on what I had going wrong for this person to leave. “Dark Shade” came from a realisation of my past struggles with relationships through this one taking such a shitty turn.”
Anyone that has experienced the loss of a lover or very close friend knows the shifting emotional landscape that that experience can become; where fond memories can bubble up at times, and also that “you’re dead to me” can feel 100% accurate. The whole of Ghost Of Me genuinely reflects the reactions, feelings, and also coping mechanisms and realisations involved with the experience of being a person where relationships don’t work, and trying desperately not to take it as one’s own personal failure as a human.
As a collective, Tapestry work brilliantly in musically following a shifting intensity along the way. These are great songs. And whether in the form of a solid and full track like “Dark Shade”, or in the simplicity of “Ember”, Tapestry are masterfully winning us over in feeling what is being shared. This is the recipe of a great band, and powerful music. Truly can’t wait to see where Tapestry heads, not to mention belt out these tracks with the band when they tour.
Seven unique tracks that skillfully capture the human experience of relating to another and finding importance in the world. Gorgeous sound created by talented musicians which is versatile enough to powerfully express beauty and pain.
I'm no audio engineer, but to my ears the vocals at times felt like there was quite a distance between them and the rest of the track. My ears wanted more of a connection between the beautiful instrumental introductions and when the vocals began.