“Too stoned to take antibiotics / I feel infections wrestle in my bones” are the opening lines to Palehound’s latest song “Healthier Folk”. And with this introduction, Ellen Kempner proves how easy it is for her to sound reckless and charming at the same time. Her previous single “Molly” off her upcoming record Dry Food, introduced a more fleshed out, mature sound. This new track is a continuation of this evolution while maintaining the intimacy and vulnerability that made her songwriting stand out in the first place.
As Kempner is trapped in a sickly, bed-ridden haze, she can’t shake this feeling of being an outsider. To the “healthier folk”, she complains: “But oh why don’t they hold me / They just cradle me like a homesick child.” The song’s soft instrumentation matches the introspective, meandering mood of the song until the very end. The finale features heavy garage guitar riffs that are eager to spin off wildly. Palehound may not be like the healthier folk, but who’s complaining?
Dry Food comes out August 14 on Exploding in Sound.