Album of the week: Palehound – Black Friday

Ellen Kempner’s music has been a source of comfort to me for nearly half a decade now. Having first seen her back in 2016, with some band called Amber Arcades supporting, Kempner’s music has barely left my side, helping me navigate times both light and dark. From the moment Kempner sung ‘You made beauty a monster to me / so I’m kissing all the ugly things I see’ it was obvious a great lyricist had entered the fray and honestly, Black Friday is her best album both lyrically and musically.

While the understated vocals and fraught guitars are obviously great, Palehound’s main selling point has always been her integrity, her unflinching honesty. On ‘Black Friday’ Kempner shows herself to be a paragon of compassion, plotting out a journey that takes in her partner coming out as trans, the specific ache of uneven emotional investment between friends and struggles with self-confidence in relationships.

Ultimately, ‘Black Friday’ is an album about love in all its’ forms. Kempner is happy to share her story but also just to sit and listen to friends, her compassionate ear helping them figure things through. It’s a record that makes you think on your insecurities, yeah it might not flush them out but it just helps to sit with them a while, explore why they exist. ‘Black Friday’ reminds you that your struggle is not your’s alone. Seeing these characters is quite honestly therapeutic; Palehound is the only artist capable of removing that blindfold. Ellen, I hope today you wake up, knowing how much we need and value you. You truly are one of a kind. Don’t ever stop. 

Black Friday is out now on Polyvinyl Records.

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