With the 2012 release of her full-length debut, Dream Life, the British singer/songwriter, composer and pop artist Mary Epworth quickly received a growing national profile as the album was released to glowing and breathless praise from Q Magazine, who called the album was “psych pop splendour . . . Experimentalism, melody and narrative co-existing in an appealing balance,” and Record Collector giving the album five stars and hailing the album as “a work of bracing originality . . . Immaculately sung and graced throughout with intelligent, song-serving arrangements and inspired production touches.” Adding to her growing profile, album singles “Black Doe” and “Long Gone” were playlisted on BBB Radio 6 — and “Black Doe,” was picked as Zane Lowe‘s “Hottest Record in The World.” And as a result, Epworth and her backing band spent a lengthy period of time touring and playing the festival circuit.
Over the past few years, Epworth has been busy with other creative pursuits — she composed the theme for the hit Stateside-based podcast Within the Wires, a spinoff to Welcome to Night Vale, and as a result, Epworth joined the Night Vale team on their successful, sold-out tours across both the US and European Union. However, her forthcoming Thom Monahan-produced sophomore effort Elytral derives its name from the description of the smooth armor beetles wear that gives them an external steeliness that belies the filminess below — and while the album will further Epworth’s growing reputation for experimental pop soundscapes, with elements of prog rock, psychedelia and even free jazz, the album reportedly finds Epworth letting loose of her darker songwriting instincts. But it’s also a continuation of some of the themes of its predecessor — nature and the vastness of the world; in fact, as Epworth explains in press notes, the world elytral is “the central metaphor of this album. It’s about resilience and stamina, but also having this light and colour unfolding from inside.”
“Me Swimming” Elytral‘s first single features an atmospheric production consisting of a propulsive bass line, shimmering and gently undulating synths, metronomic-like drum programming fed through reverb, some subtle industrial-like clang and clatter and a soaring hook. And much like Roisin Murphy‘s incredibly weird and experimental work, Epworth’s latest single manages to possess a radio-friendly accessibility.
Directed by Ben Sommers and starring renowned British character actor Robert Lloyd Parry, best known for performing one-man stagings of short stories by British horror writer M.R. James, the video for “Me Swimming” follows a man, who has a strange and overwhelming obsession — and interestingly enough is based on Epworth’s own concept. As Epworth explains “This video features so many of my favourite things — beasts, landscape, Robert Lloyd Parry’s impeccable acting and blackly comic pastoral horror.”