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Album Review

Pretty Embers – ‘Under’ [Album Review]

Nashville-based indie/alt-rock outfit Pretty Embers releases their debut album, ‘Under,’ exploring themes of introspection, insecurity, and one-sided relationships.



Nashville-based indie/alt-rock outfit Pretty Embers, considered the “Death Cab For Cutie of the South,” releases their debut album, Under, exploring themes of introspection, insecurity, and one-sided relationships.

Vocalist/guitarist Kameron Mitchell explains, “The cyclical journey of lost love where one day you think you’re getting over it and then the next you’re right back in a hole, it’s really hard. I tried to sequence the record in a way that takes you from anger to acceptance and cycling through the emotions over and over again. There’s a lot of self-reflection and contradiction within it all, but I think that’s a representation of how dynamic life can truly be.”

Along with Kameron, Pretty Embers is made up of Mason Thomas and Ethan Standard. The trio, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, has been writing and playing together since high school.

Prior to, and during the pandemic, the threesome used their time wisely, writing and laying down tracks for Under.

Talking about the process, Ethan shares, “This was a brand-new experience in the way that we went about building out and recording these 10 songs. It was a very organic, explorative, experimental time for us, and I think that brought out a sense of vulnerability and honesty that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.”

Mason adds, “We really learned how sacred the process is and the value of taking the creation and artistry to a place of focus and sanctity.”

Under begins with “For You,” featuring Brett Bellomy. Reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls, the track embraces shimmering guitars, a vibrant rhythm, and lush, slightly rasping vocals. Other highlights include “I Don’t Need You,” with Soren Byrce, conjuring up memories of Def Leppard, simply because of the creamy, luminous guitars. Yet the velvety, low-slung feel of the song, brimming with profound emotions, is nothing like Def Leppard.

Pretty Embers

“Inside” opens on soft, gleaming guitars riding a syncopated rhythm as soft, smooth vocals infuse the lyrics with tender savours. “It’s Not The Same” travels on drifting tones, languid yet dense, atop a rumbling rhythmic flow. Gentle vocals give the lyrics hints of melancholy and sad regret.

“Behind these walls, under my skin / Beside it all, I can feel again / It doesn’t hurt, there is no pain / It’s not the worst, but it’s not the same / Anymore, anymore.”

The final track, “Daydreams,” starts off on nursery rhyme notes, followed by the entry of the bassline, contrasting the sparkling tones. Mellow and polychromatic, the harmonics gather resonance amid indulgent leitmotifs.

Kameron Mitchell says, “There are a lot of emotions across the record. Self-reflection and introspection, maybe it’s your fault, maybe it’s my fault, maybe you lied, maybe I wasn’t being honest, and maybe it was all damned from the start. It might not be universal, but that was my experience, and I hope someone can gain some solace from it.”

Under Track Listing:

1. For You (feat. Brett Bellomy)
2. I Don’t Need You (feat. Soren Bryce)
3. Take It All Back
4. Inside
5. In A Few Weeks
6. Losing Sleep
7. Realize
8. Wish You Well
9. It’s Not The Same
10. Daydreams

Run Time: 34:37
Release Date: October 29, 2021
Record Label: Self-Release