“Healthier Folk” off Palehound’s debut album Dry Food finds singer Ellen Kempner balancing a thin line between sweet and, well, sick. Not in the literal sense, but as Kempner says at the beginning, “I only feel half-right around healthier folk.” She watches said individuals from a distance (“mouth ajar watching cuties hit the halfpipe”) before the song’s tone reaches a wistful level of introspection: “But oh, why don’t they hold me / They just cradle me like a homesick child.” “Healthier Folk” plays it safe until its musical “fuck it” conclusion, a shredding descent into disarray.
In the song’s video, directed by Faye Orlove (who has directed videos for Mitski and Downtown Boys and co-editor at The Media), the dualities between delicacy and danger are represented through a variety of objects typically thought of as feminine that gain a sinister nature. To list a few, an animated clip equates the act of the shaving of legs with shearing beautiful flowers, an eyelash curler and tweezers feel ominously close to fragile eyeballs, a Barbie doll is burned with a magnifying glass, and a close-up of a pink jeweled earring entering an ear feels uncomfortable. While these shots are tightly composed and under control, perhaps to represent Kempner’s words “drizzle honey on my oepn salt wound,” there are shots of disorder: goo pouring over a stiff bar of soap, pastel pink gloop plopping onto a cracked iPhone, and a hot pink liquid overflowing from a tiny cup.
Dry Food is on now on Exploding in Sound.