My phone has twelve tracks downloaded to it, which auto-play in alphabetic order every time I get into the car. Six of them are the tracks from my album, Contest Winner EP; four are from Frederick Ingram’s Elements; one is Frederick’s single “Fish Bowl“; and one—oddly—is Ozzy’s “Shot in the Dark” from The Ultimate Sin album.
This Friday, I’m diving back into Frederick’s exquisite EP Elements, one of my favorite indie releases of the past decade. Because I listen to this EP multiple times each week, I’ve gotten to know these tunes very well. Indeed, I wrote about another song from the EP, “Yesterday’s Weather,” back in January.
“Ephemery” opens with plaintively echoing guitars, with a resonant bass line and shuffling drum pattern kicking in after a few measures. The bass at times has a certain acoustic quality to it that gives it a nice “thump” that isn’t overly electronic.
Frederick has always been genius at incorporating the melodic lines of his voice into his instrumentation, and “Ephemery” is no different, as the instrumental introduction anticipates some of the melodic lines to come, specifically the “chorus.”
I put “chorus” in quotation marks because there’s not a chorus in the traditional sense. The end of the verses sometimes function as such, such as the end of the second verse, which repeats “fight to recover the desert’s lost treasure” in rhythmic and melodic synchronicity with the persistent guitar line.
The song seems to me, too, to be the thematic centerpiece of the 2013 release. It depicts a carefree beach scene as a battlefield—“cigarette butts buttress the dunes.” In the final “chorus,” the song poses the question “what are these other Elements?”
The answer? “Blood, dust, panic, war.”
Give it a listen and leave a comment.