Eilis Frawley – Darkest Truth (Reckless Yes)

Eilis Frawley – Darkest Truth (Reckless Yes)

Conservatoire-trained Berlin-based percussionist Eilis Frawley makes the personal political in latest single Darkest Truth, ahead of the release of her second EP Adult Life in October. This track has a trigger warning of sexual violence – please skip if you are affected by the theme. 

Eilis Frawley by Janina GallertArtist: Eilis Frawley
Track: Darkest Truth
Label: Reckless Yes
Released: 25 September 2020
Find it: Spotify | Bandcamp

TW: sexual violence

There are tracks which floor you with their sound, those that resonate with you emotionally, and those which lyrically leave you stunned. In the latest track from Eilis Frawley you’re likely to experience all three hits as Darkest Truth challenges, gives an uncomfortable but necessary intimacy, and surrounds you with stunning synths, samples and beats.

Having released an EP earlier in 2020, and recent single Stats, the mix of spoken word with feminist themes is becoming well-established from Frawley already, despite being early in her solo career. Within seemingly tight constraints – a solo drummer and percussionist who, in her words, doesn’t sing – she’s found a startling array of forms and structures, of sounds to back the often personal and always political lyrics.

Darkest Truth recounts in stark detail her own experience of a sexual assault and the brutal honesty of those lyrics is rightfully centred when talking about this track. The throbbing synth, broken by sharp bursts of percussion, and increasingly alarming yet distant high notes as vocals fade in and out of the mix. This is a musical rendering of the confusion, the fear, and the internalisation of those feelings – the track is subtle, encompassing, and melodically relies on you turning toward it rather than pushing itself in your face.

About the track she said, “This is the scariest thing I’ve put out into the world, but I’m learning sometimes it’s ok to be scared. There’s still a stigma around sexual assault and as a society we are constantly downplaying the reality. We need to keep talking about it, we need to be louder.”

Continuing in a recent interview with Daddy Issues magazine she recognised how the track faces into the taboo around sexual assault, the shame victims carry and fear they have around being believed if they tell their truth. She said, “For years, I bottled it up inside me, speaking only with my closest friends. At the time, I was young and partying a lot, so I put a lot of the blame on myself.

“I wrote the words a few years ago, and when developing my solo project, it found a musical home. It’s a heavy topic, but that’s the power of art. My story is uncomfortable, but until we as a society find a better way to address sexual assault, it always will be.”

Equal parts a brave and brilliant release, giving no space in which to turn from this lived experience, and powerfully bringing into sharp focus the reality of #metoo for those who’d rather keep the movement oblique.

Darkest Truth is the second single to be lifted from a forthcoming second EP Adult Life, due in October.

Find Eilis Frawley: Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp
Image: Janina Gallert

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* Disclaimer: Sarah Lay is co-founder of Reckless Yes so is partially responsible for the release of this track. However, she would only release or write about music she really loved so this is more about enthusiasm for great music, and great artists than it is touting her own wares.

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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