The Sparrows All Find Food is a lyrical and lush debut indie-pop EP from Halifax artist Keeper E.
Folks on the Halifax peninsula see the ocean less than people might expect. There are branches and arms of the sea that move through the city in thin strips, but open ocean takes a trek to fully behold. Haligonians can forget that they’re so close to this massive body of water, and can forget to make the short journey to take in its beauty.
Halifax pop artist Adelle Elwood, who goes by the moniker Keeper E., is aware that seeking out beauty takes work, and our world’s most precious sources of beauty can be neglected as a result. Her debut EP, The Sparrows All Find Food, deals with the themes of gratefulness, courage, and awareness in the face of the impending climate crisis.
Keeper E. sings emotionally charged lyrics which weave through her bold and lush pop production, striking that folk balance between political and personal. Keeper E.’s influences — Maggie Rogers and Sylvan Esso — come through in her sentimental, electronic sound. But she also brings a creative and original voice to pop in The Sparrows All Find Food.
The EP opens with “Frail,” a song with darker production than the rest. Keeper E. harmonizes with herself with touches of vocoder. It’s almost a frightening pop song, it’s the coldest and the most inhuman one on the project. The Sparrows All Find Food ends with “All my Treasure”, which has a folk-influenced sound as organ and string samples add warmth. It’s a lyrical climax to the album as well, with Keeper E. singing the titular line, “The sparrows all find food and I know I will too,” reassuring herself of the world’s beauty after the emotionally tumultuous journey from first track to the last.
“Please Don’t Tell Me” uses bassy synth lines, keeping with the bold production from “Frail.” Keeper E. confronts the personal sacrifices that come with falling in love, singing, “I don’t know how to be bound up with you but free.” Then there’s “Telling the Truth,” which is about having to be brave despite climate change, and grappling with the forces of optimism and ignorance. She tries to hide her anxieties from her partner, but asks ,“Have you seen the way that I stand beside you like the trees by the ocean all bent by the wind?”
“Leaf in a River” is a standout track on the album. It’s sweet and catchy and loud and fun, all while maintaining Keeper E.’s emotional lyrical tone. “I’m Sorry to my Spider Plant” is also sweet and continues the theme of how the world’s beauty must be sought out and maintained, but is still here. This theme of maintenance is also contained in the name Keeper E., which was apparently inspired by lighthouse keepers who used to maintain lighthouses and watch the sea for incoming ships.
Keeper E.’s debut EP is musically satisfying and lyrically moving. It reminds us to appreciate and care for simple beauties in complex times, to make that trek to the ocean once and a while, to love the people in our lives, and to water our plants.