Once in a while, a singer emerges with a remarkable talent for crafting a unique musical atmosphere. Their songs effortlessly transport listeners to the nostalgic ambiance of smoky bar backrooms, yet they maintain a refreshing vibrancy. Ellie Bleach is one such artist.
Making her mark as a captivating world-building writer in 2021 with the remarkable EP, “No Elegant Way To Sell Out,” Bleach showcased endless wit in her short play. On ‘Doing Really Well Thanks,’ her signature humor instantly drew me into her Cabaret style—a campy and fun approach that few artists dare to explore, and even fewer execute successfully. However, she achieved it with a wink, a laugh, and a luxurious instrumental.
As the anticipation built for her next release, I wondered how she would surpass her previous work. Yet, her 2023 singles, ‘Pamela’ and ‘Lakehouse,’ confidently ventured into a different world with new characters and intrigue. Bleach uses her music not only to create characters but also to find sounds that suit their unique styles. Her work demonstrates a mature and multi-faceted dimension, remarkable for such a fresh artist.
Her latest offering, ‘Whole Lotta Nothing,’ maintains the high quality but in a different manner. While still steeped in innuendo and humor, and preserving that thick nostalgic vibe, Bleach allows herself to cut through more. Even if the emotions are exaggerated and projected into a fictional bar, there is genuine emotion in her crooning performance.
“I wanted ‘Whole Lotta Nothing’ to sound like a dive bar at 3 am, as if the narrator is singing to an empty room besides the janitor and barkeep,” the singer shared about the track. She more than succeeds in this endeavor. The lounge band sound and the saxophone bridge are nothing short of cinematic. It’s the kind of piece you play through your headphones on a moody, heartbroken walk or blast loudly in the shower if you need a dramatic cry.
This is music for those who can’t play it cool, those who refuse to let go of anything, and those who crave theatrical adoration in a painfully dull modern world. For Bleach, ‘Whole Lotta Nothing’ is a song rich with “equal measures of cynicism and deep longing, two feelings at odds with each other and yet comfortable in their coexistence.” These emotions are palpable in every piano chord and moody lyric.
Serving as the introductory work to her upcoming EP, “Now Leaving West Feldwood,” which will follow a new character through a fictional suburban town, ‘Whole Lotta Nothing’ is instantly gripping, like a perfect opening scene. Bleach manages to create a comprehensive vibe without overdoing anything, showcasing her natural storytelling ability that is both palpable and captivating.