Oftentimes, grief is physically debilitating. It festers as a wound within you, completely shutting down your senses. ASHERAH’s ethereal pop EP, Ephemeral, explores this bodily experience of grief through the theme of transcendence. The rich, layered production and ASHERAH’s diaphanous vocals contrasts with the gut-wrenching lyrics, as ASHERAH composes an elegy to her lost friend. The EP is dedicated to her friend Dennis Thompson, with all net proceeds going to Rebel Recovery, a community outreach service for those impacted by drug use and living with or at risk of HIV/AIDs.
The EP’s lead single “Holy” is a rhythmic yet perturbed piece, as the dance beat creates a sense of unease; capturing the feeling of restlessness. Two voices sing in unison, yet one remains stifled. ASHERAH sings of desperation in the face of loss, calling for a saviour to return her to blissful normalcy: “Could you be the one who brings the light back to the sun? / And makes us warm again.” But the “you” which ASHERAH addresses is fleeting, as she finds herself in denial, longing for divine mercy.
Throughout the album, ASHERAH undergoes an emotional shift towards acceptance. In “Chasm,” she finally digresses and admits to her exhaustion. “You want to rest / I’ll let you sleep,” she sings. The song swells, as synths grow in intensity overpowering her voice. Toward the end, a clear and gentle melody begins to take over, reflecting a “grounding” separate from the other-worldly electronic heaven which ASHERAH had previously indulged in.
The final song, “More Than Miles,” sees ASHERAH moving on. ”Sleep most peacefully / There are no bad dreams / More than miles away.” The bright chords reflect a shift towards positivity, yet there is a lingering feeling of loss. The song feels like a final goodbye to her friend, expressing happiness at her newfound peace, yet never truly forgetting the loss. The last few moments of Ephemeral see the song dissolve into cacophonous noise. The resolution, it seems, comes at the cost of destruction.