It’s hard to talk about Scotty Leitch without mentioning Alex G. Alex G has become a Philadelphia North Star of sorts—a point of reference and shining exemplar of a certain corner of the city’s rich musical landscape. Leitch, who writes songs under the moniker Shelf Life, has played drums for Alex G, beckoning more than a couple comparisons. Similarities aren’t hard to come by, but to measure Shelf Life in comparison to Alex G is to do Leitch a disservice; his somber, poetic pop more than stands on its own.
“The Curse” is our first taste of Shelf Life’s debut full-length, Everyone Make Happy, due in September. The track’s cuddly intimacy and contented vocals help the song straddle the line between depressed confessional and a twee proclamation of love. Leitch grapples with his haunting inner demons (“Talk to the ghost of my dad’s mom / About nothing but heaven and the cancer in her gut”) through introspection and the help of another character, apparently his rock. In the song’s only repeated line, Leitch sings, “But without you there’d be no center to my toppled world.” True to its bedroom pop-inspired aesthetic, “The Curse” filters small spots of happiness through a wistful void, creating a staggeringly beautiful single that’s brimming with passion.
Everyone Make Happy is out September 18 on Lefse.