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Gish is transforming ye olde ghost stories into a 21st century art form.
Gone are the days of sheet-covered specters roaming the halls of Victorian mansions, moaning about long-long lost lovers. Gish — a.k.a. Southern New Hampshire artist Jacalynn Manning — dabbles in more contemporary tales of horror, like upheaval and trauma, on her new EP The Stitcher. Released last month (September 12), the tunes make a perfect soundtrack for fall in New England.
“The Stitcher is meant as a surreal recounting of my experience of coming to terms with trauma, blurring the lines between anger, bargaining, and burden with a mythic sense of power and weight,” Manning says.“Early this year I was faced with confronting a PTSD diagnosis, and began writing again during the beginning process of working through it.”
In Manning’s hands, her five-track collection of anguish and ordeals subverts shoegaze and plunges towards an avant style that’s more stripped and spooky. Her lurid storytelling, on the other hand, tears a hole in her ethereal webs of melodies. The contrast quite literally cries out from your speakers.
“The title track is the story of a woman who boards a train at night, traveling alone to collect the remains of a loved one who died by the hand of their lover,” Manning elaborates. “The main character tries to bring her loved one back to life, figuratively through denial and literally through black magic. The song is meant to represent the way it feels to collect the piece of you that died during the traumatic event, and the sense of bargaining you might have as you try to ‘stitch’ yourself back together.”
She adds: “The other songs on the EP explore the way trauma effects close relationships. ‘Dreas’ is the desire and hesitation to seek help in order to give oneself over to a relationship. ‘Tadpole Teeth’ follows a narrator unwillingly watching someone hurt themselves from a very close distance while in an unrelatable recovery state. My songs are typically written from the perspective of people who have passed away, and are recounting events from a different time and place. I try to bring the listener back to that time and place as a temporary escape from their own.”
Well-worthy of a time warp, listen to The Stitcher below in full.