Leith Ross Turns Vulnerable Songs into Universal Sentiments on 'Motherwell'
Published Oct 16, 2020The eight songs that make up Leith Ross' debut EP were recorded in one afternoon, but it's a body of work that doesn't feel rushed in the slightest. In fact, Motherwell oozes with contemplation, taking its time in telling an amalgamation of years' worth of memories associated with the aching growing pains of getting older.
Ross, a 21-year-old graduate of Humber College, teamed up with their fellow classmates to record the songs live off the floor. Drawing inspiration from singer-songwriters like Phoebe Bridgers and Feist, Ross has crafted a debut full of fear and hope that will resonate with people going through the same transitional periods of life.
Motherwell reads like a series of melancholic diary entries, but with buoyancy rather than dragging the listener down. The feather-light vocals on "Grown Up" lulls about the confrontation of getting older. On "Prayer," Ross discusses being faithless but wishing they weren't, backed up by a metronome-like strumming guitar. "Tommy" is a tribute to Ross' grandfather and how the memories you carry of people can impact you forever. The phrase "wise beyond their years" implies that young people don't experience the world as deeply or intellectually as older people, but the wisdom that Ross applies to their music pierces on each song.
"Coming Back" is a piano-led conclusion to the guitar-driven collection. It's languid and dreamlike, fitting for a song that mentions sleep frequently. "I used to talk to my mother about how I just couldn't wait to get old," Ross croons, and, just like that, the listener is catapulted back to the hopefulness of childhood.
Ultimately, Motherwell is a simple debut with a universal premise that may not be groundbreaking. It's Ross's penmanship and vulnerability, however, that make it an EP that can be listened to at any age and be a reminder of the fear and beauty of growing up. (Birthday Cake)