Little Green Cars Ephemera on 2LP
When Little Green Cars were deciding on a title for their extraordinary second album, they discovered a poem that captured exactly what they were after. That poem is called Ephemera, and as soon as singer Stevie Appleby read it to his band mates, the album was too. "It's a transitional album," says Stevie. "Lyrically, it's all about change – the end of some eras, new beginnings, learning from the past and looking to the future. Ephemera means things that are important to you, but only for a short time. That could apply to music or relationships or even a particular day. The poem sums up the theme of the album, which we only realised ourselves when we'd recorded the songs."
Two deaths, relationship break-ups and over two years spent touring the band's widely-acclaimed 2013 debut Absolute Zero are among the key events that inform Ephemera's richly-textured, harmony-soaked rock songs. While the impact of those events will change over time, the intense emotions they evoked will live on in the music. Now all in their early 20s, Little Green Cars are both a different band and the same five friends who met every Sunday aged 15 in Stevie's garden shed to start writing songs. Those changes, their shared experiences and individual ups and downs are candidly documented in Ephemera, a gorgeous, grown-up album about, well, growing up.
When Ephemera was completed in 2015, its theme became clear. A dozen exquisitely-crafted, exceptionally-sung, sumptuously-produced songs shimmered with the myriad of emotions the band had been through – restlessness, regret, love, heartbreak, hope and acceptance among them. Vivid lines of lyrics began to stand out. You won't have your heart tugged harder this year than when Stevie depicts the disintegration of his relationship on "You Vs Me." The death of Adam's dad inspired the almost unbearably beautiful "Brother" – written by Adam, sung sensationally by Faye. The death of Stevie's grandmother gave birth to "The Garden Of Death," a number with breathtaking harmonies in which the singer seeks beauty in the afterlife.
Lovely, lilting album opener "The Song They Play Every Night" sees Stevie questioning his identity and taking stock of past mistakes. The Faye-fronted "Easier Day" is a song about responsibility that's both about a break-up and a tribute to the singer's mother. The hypnotic "Good Women Do" boasts pulsating rhythms and a simmering resentment as Faye confronts an ugly truth. One of the key tracks in the writing process was "Clare De Lune," a song in which Stevie rails against society's obsession with happiness. Then there's "The Party," on which an increasingly unhinged-sounding Stevie repeats "I don't wanna/Wreck your party" as the drums grow ever more menacing and the song builds to the brink of explosion.
The only older song on Ephemera is "Ok Ok Ok," which Faye wrote on an old casio keyboard when she was only sixteen, about someone she was in love with, and summons the feelings of her teens every time she sings it. "Winds Of Peace," which follows, took its title from the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself and unfolds in three parts as Stevie strives to become the man his mother glimpsed in him as a child. Ephemera closes referencing religion and homecomings on "The Factory," named after the youth club where Stevie played his first gigs.