CAYLEY THOMAS – ” How Else Can I Tell You? “

Posted: August 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Edmonton singer/songwriter Cayley Thomas shared her debut EP, “How Else Can I Tell You?”, earlier this year. With lush production and touches of retro pop, soul and indie rock, this five-track release is incredibly enchanting, particularly due to its timeless song writing and Thomas’ beautiful vocals. Cayley Thomas is a singer, guitarist and songwriter from Edmonton, Alberta whose natural affinity for constructing catchy melodies reveals her striking vocal range and character.

With a voice as smooth as it is strong, Cayley Thomas may just have cemented herself as a Canadian-crooner staple with the release of her latest EP, “How Else Can I Tell You?” Through this 5-song EP, Thomas filters modern story-telling through a vintage lens, reminding listeners that the human experience is both ever-evolving and timelessly relatable.

As the album begins, “Two Minds” transports listeners to the living-room where the album begins to unfold; dampened drums, cigarette smoke, dissonant guitar chords, orange floral furniture, vinyl records, bangs, dancing bass lines, and the finest scotch. This album lives a couple houses down from Andy Shauf’s The Party and just further down the street from Jenn Grant’s Love, Inevitable. Even from the first track, it’s hard not to notice the exceptional production of Nik Kozub (Shout Out Out Out Out, Humans, The Wet Secrets) and Steve Chahley (U.S. Girls, FRIGS, Badge Époque, Darlene Shrugg); each sound is perfectly layered to create the vintage vibes, including humble horn lines and barely-there piano octaves. These vibes only further evolve in track two, “Midnight Hours”, which might perhaps be Thomas’ most vocally striking song as she switches up the melody and introduces new swooping harmonies near the end of the track.

Summer, sunshine, and vintage lovin’; if you aren’t yet feeling completely transported back in time, tracks three and four will be the ones to take you there. “Blue Jean Baby” pairs a familiar bass progression with modern synth sounds and guitar picking. “Sunshine” could be the track of the summer; the samba-like beat, anthemic chorus, and rock-out ending make it hard to sit still.

The album ends with what sounds to be Thomas’ most personal and painful song, “In a While”. She processes the death of a loved one, saying, “seasons keep on changing, but you remain the same, always one month short of 25”. The beautiful chords, fuzzy vocals, and simple instrumentation provide a delicate soundscape for Thomas to cherish the simple memories that warm her heart, and pose the “what-ifs” that make it hurt. Thomas has a talent many songwriters wish for—to say so much through very little. This track, and its placement as the finale, gives this entire body of work a new sense of depth, causing me to return right to track one and do it all again. With Thomas’ pain in mind, I relisten to the album with a deeper sense of respect for her intentionality, and hear new emotions, passion, grief, and candor in each song.

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released May 1st, 2020

Words and music by Cayley Thomas

Image may contain: text that says 'Cayley Thomas How Else Can I Tell You? Available Now FACTOR Canada Cution'

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