The day after a sleepover, you wake up with the noon. The sun funnels in through the edges of the curtains as you drowsily heat up last night’s leftovers for breakfast. You return to your room, and your friend has awoken too, all pillow creases and tear tracks– the remnants of a night spent in heartbreak. She offers a weak smile as you give her a pizza slice, and you both eat in silence. Finally, when she begins to speak, it’s no longer with the helplessness or agony of the previous night. Instead, she carries the reflectiveness of someone holding up shards of their heart to the light to see what they look like.
When Eloise begins singing in her debut album, Drunk On A Flight, it is like she is in your room. She is sitting by your side, processing her break-up. Every now and then, she tells you nuggets of insights that come to her in retrospect. She sings with the sort of straightforwardness that comes when you have nothing to lose. It is as if she were saying– “Oh it’s all over, why kid myself now?” Eloise’s casual vulnerability along with the airy, lilting soundscape makes for a break-up album that deals with heartbreak without drowning in it, brimming with the introspection that precedes healing.
Eloise spreads out a map of her relationship, pointing one by one to the places where they lost their way. In the first and titular track, she introduces us to the fights– “We used to fight for the sport.” The subsequent song, “Make it Better,” is a breezy and upbeat tune, where she’s trying to break them out of the pattern of getting into arguments. She makes no attempt to hide that the fall-outs are quick, but then so is her forgiveness. We see this in “Forgive You,” where she extends absolution with ease– whether her partner rescues her from the edge of the cliff or pushes her off it.
Fighting and forgiveness are accompanied by their less dramatic counterpart– exhaustion and discontent. In “Therapist,” Eloise laments about the emotional fatigue caused by always having to keep open a listening ear– “I don’t wanna talk about your mommy issues if that’s alright/ I miss the passion that we had when we used to fight.” As we get to “In Another Year,” the relationship has devolved into a state of absolute exhaustion. This is mirrored by the rare, slow and sorrowful way in which it is sung. She sings of domestic life without the charm that love can light it up with. And still, she is so worn down that for the most part, she is postponing ending the relationship– “I’m still getting out of here/Just in another year.”
Sometimes, though, she thinks back to the start, when things were all giddy and hopeful, with no hint of what was to come. She says sweetly in “Vanilla Tobacco”, “Oh, give me a little kiss on my nose/I wanna feel like I’m your only.” At times, she’s still holding on, like in “Pretend,” where she says– “Can we just pretend/And spend one more night/Now we know it’s the end?” But at the end of it all, when she sings on the final track, she is tired. She’s not bitter when she leaves, nor is she inconsolable. She’s exhausted, like a rock that has been whittled down by the sea one too many times, now content to be swept deep into the land.
Drunk On A Flight is the break-up album that will help you reflect on your past loves. And it won’t make you itch to call your ex. It is artful– the way Eloise delves into the pain without neglecting the love. Yet, she does not let it turn into either bitterness or longing. It is as if, after telling us all about this, she’ll point to the sky outside, saying– “It’s pretty out there, let’s go somewhere.” And we’ll go out, meandering down the street, and the weight of the break-up will drift off with the wind.
Drunk on a Flight album cover courtesy of Harbour Records Limited