Published May 01, 2020On How Else Can I Tell You?, Toronto-via-Edmonton singer-songwriter Cayley Thomas uses '60s psych pop and soul production as a pastiche-powered vehicle for cathartic self-discovery and subconscious exploration. From the EP's opening moments, Thomas takes listeners on a nostalgic trip through mid-century pop and soul with just enough modern sensibilities and eccentricities to create a sound that is both comfortably familiar and excitingly innovative.
In a flawless marriage of hi-fi production and lo-fi living-room pop, How Else Can I Tell You? blends together themes of uncertainty, purgatory and loss while maintaining an ever-present thread of optimism and hope. Thomas's unique and mesmerizing vocal range captures the melancholic journey of self-actualization and coming to terms with one's desires and ambitions, as heard in the lead-off track "Two Minds": "Everyone's finished the race and you're just starting."
In the ethereal "Midnight Hours", Thomas traps the listener in a fever dream, dancing in the space between unconsciousness and the material world. The swaying hangover of "Blue Jean Baby" and bright optimism of "Sunshine" mark a departure from the melancholy, revealing a hopeful future built on supportive love. The album closes with the stripped down, personal number "In a While" where Thomas explores the painful ghosts of the past and futures that will never be.
Bringing together expert producers from her past and present hometowns — Edmonton's Nik Kozub (Shout Out Out Out Out, the Wet Secrets) and Toronto-adjacent Steve Chahley (U.S. Girls, FRIGS, Darlene Shrugg) — How Else Can I Tell You? showcases maturely executed conceptual themes paired with an undeniable talent and creativity that, while only clocking in at around 19 minutes, leaves us wanting more of Thomas' unique sound. (Independent)