words by maria sledmere
photo by ellie kate gray
Sometimes a song comes along seeming so preciously delectable it’s almost a shame to prise it from its silent wrapping of promise; you want to savour it, resist the urge to play it again and again, even as its addictive, nourishing goodness pulls you endlessly back to the play button. Nugget’s gorgeous cover of Human Bones’ “Watermelon” is just such a treat of a song. The first track to be released from Breakfast Records’ upcoming anniversary compilation, Elevenses, you can’t help but find your heart softening to caramel as Emily Isherwood weaves her sultry voice through the desolate mists of memory and lost love: “did all those cigarettes / burn out your lungs yet?”
“Watermelon” is a perfect slice of Nugget’s talent for a sort of suburban pastoral, where summery lyrics of pastel-hazed memories meet a mournful round of hollow parties, heartbreak, shopping arcades. At just two minutes long, “Watermelon” lovingly hesitates between the flourishing warmth of its chorus, fleshed-out with velvety backing vocals from Vanessa Gimenez and Robert Primrose’s scintillations of violin (both of Swimming Girls), and the sparse reflections of its verse, always trembling on the brink of silence. Nugget’s cover hits the sweet spot between Isherwood’s breathy, sugary drawl, weighted with sorrow, and the luminous clarity of its central lyric: “Eating watermelon with you / your lips are red as the flesh of the fruit.”
As summer starts to glimmer before us and blossoms are shed from spring’s lush trees, “Watermelon” distils that sense of nostalgia for simple afternoons, where that rich taste of first love always lingers the sweetest in memory. The doleful reticence of its Lo-Fi acoustic guitar and string arrangements feel like drifting on a sunbeam, feel like longing melted into music. The song’s climax quickly fades on a shrill sliver of violin and it’s this refusal of further indulgence that preserves a sense of fresh and fleeting beauty, a lustre that dims as bright as it shines, a love both complex and deliciously simple. A sign of a label in full bloom, if this first release from Elevenses is anything to go by. Listen to “Watermelon” below.
The full Elevenses album will be released initially as a limited run of just eleven bundles including a cassette, tea towel, word search and download code, before becoming available digitally.
Head to Breakfast Records for more details.
An Elevenses launch gig takes place on May 20th at Hours Space in Colston Yard, Bristol
Grab tickets here