Songwriter Ames’ debut EP, My Name Is Ames, achieves a strikingly intimate disposition across its six alternative pop tracks. Out Friday, April 5 on Mateo Sound, My Name Is Ames strikes a clean balance of moving lyrics and upbeat synth instrumentals on an EP with overall near-flawless production.
The EP opens on a highly emotional note: “Old Hero”, which was released as a single in February, was prompted by the loss of several loved ones (“You don’t have to go tonight/See another morning”). It’s a gorgeous, cinematic track with seemingly endless layers of intricate synth and Ames’ smoky vocals.
The fourth track, “Mama It’s Me”, continues the emotive thread: it’s a mellow, acoustic track that will resonate with any queer person who has ever had to come out to a parent. Ames came out to conservative parents as a teenager, and on this sweet, intimate song, Ames plucks her guitar strings (and listeners’ heartstrings) as she croons, “Mama, it’s me/You’ve worried enough/And the tiniest heart you ever did start/Has finally found love.”
Just one track after, “Hold On” is a little more upbeat but still centers on Ames’ queer experiences. According to a press release, she wrote the song as a letter to her younger self, who struggled with her sexuality (“Hold on/Every time that you wanna give up, you’re too strong”). It’s upbeat and shimmering with gauzy synth and hand-clapping percussion, and despite the intensity of internal turmoil, there’s nothing heavy about this song.
Not everything on My Name Is Ames is quite so emotionally potent, however; Ames writes plenty about experiences with dating and love as a queer woman. “Picture in my Mind” is about dating in an age of social media and injects the EP with a heavy dose of bass, and the sultry dance music on “Between” is fun. My Name Is Ames closes with a love letter to a fickle lover on “Curious”, which features lower, darker synth and pulsing percussion. It’s a strong ending to a moving, catchy EP.
It’s difficult to pick a standout track on My Name Is Ames. Ames injects her own experience into shining, synth-filled pop music to make the EP personal, and the result is ethereal.
This is a powerful EP, both in terms of musical quality and lyrical content, so keep an eye out on Ames’ social media for more information about the EP release Friday. In the meantime, listen to “Hold On” below.