It’s the opening lines, and the way that they’re sung that really gets to you on ‘Conditions.’ Ella Williams (aka. Squirrel Flower) calmly delivers: “I’ll be gentle, and I’ll take it slowly, just as long as you say you don’t need me.” Words imbued with sadness, delivered with a quivering authority.
The lead single to the upcoming reissue of her sophomore EP Contact Sports, it’s a wistful, melancholic tune, albeit with warm undertones. This feeling is created through the skeletal guitar and vocals from the intro, and the way they become flooded by fuzz as the rest of the instrumentation comes in. Falling into a strong female line-up dominating indie at the moment (Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, Lucy Dacus, Soccer Mommy and dozens more), Squirrel Flower holds her own.
Talking of the track and forthcoming EP, Williams explains: “One might say that Contact Sports, and ‘Conditions’ explores the modern difficulties involved in the art of sport and the sport of art, the sport of love, and the art of love.” This three-way comparison between sport, art, and love is reflected in the way that music, poetry and visual entwine here. The video below was shot entirely in the Grinnell College athletic centre where she studies. As a place where one pushes the boundaries of sport, art and love for perhaps the first time in their life, it’s hard to shake the feeling that these surroundings have had a profound impact on Squirrel Flower’s music.
Completely of her own volition she’s toured around the US, supporting the likes of Moses Sumney, Lucy Dacus, Frankie Cosmos, Jay Som, Julien Baker and Big Thief. One can only hope that she’ll be coming to the UK soon.
Squirrel Flower’s ‘Contact Sports’ is released on 20th July 2018 via Rough Trade – and is available to pre-order here.