Singer-songwriter Ursae’s self-titled EP, out Feb. 24, blends electronic music with an organic songwriting style.
Throughout the debut EP, Ursae, also known as Andrew Campbell, utilizes hip-hop beats, synth, indie, pop and soul-baring vocals and lyrics. Campbell describes his style as “avant-pop,” mixing accessible indie and pop and experimental electronic beats and synth.
“So Green Her Eyes,” a single off the EP, is a bouncy indie track mixed with darker lyrics. Campbell told “Pancakes and Whiskey” the song is about portraying a high school crush as Death.
“The song looks at depression and loneliness and says, ‘You might fantasize about Death but it’s not right for you. Be with someone you deserve,’” Campbell said.
Xylophone synth plays in the background. “How much further can I go before she sees me?” Campbell wonders on the track.
“Song for _____” is a standout track on the EP. The song features a flute, making for an interesting mix with the spacey indie-pop. The song is a perfect example of Campbell’s blending of organic instruments with production more akin to pop or hip-hop.
“Please don’t torment me/don’t torment me/no more,” Campbell pleads in a soft falsetto. His repetition of “Don’t torment me” over spacey synth creates a hypnotic effect.
Campbell’s style of writing is particularly melancholy. He is emotional and he is longing. Campbell told “Punchland,” for him, writing is an unconscious decision.
“Music’s tough, but it comes from somewhere in me that’s pretty unknowable. It just is,” Campbell said.
Campbell’s vocals add another layer of vulnerability to his music. Campbell’s falsetto is a particularly special feature of his voice. That, combined with dreamy and often minor instrumentation and honest lyrics, makes his songs soothing while tapping into emotion.
The EP’s other single “Likeness” is a stripped-back piano driven track reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie, a band Campbell admitted to Vents Magazine he’s a fan of.
“Likeness” also features a hip-hop beat and xylophone synth, further meshing together different styles.
The EP’s final song, “Epilogue,” is about a minute and a half of tumbling synth sounds. It’s almost otherworldly; both dreamy and unsettling at the same time. While is serves as nothing more than an outro, it showcases Campbell’s penchant for experimentation. The outro itself seeks to bring the listener to a sort of alternate consciousness.
Campbell is a graduate of NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, which teaches both the artistic and business side of music.
Campbell finds a happy balance between electronic production and organic songwriting and instrumentation. Combined with his personal lyricism, Campbell creates a layered debut EP that holds promise for his future releases.
Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.