London upstart Etta Marcus has shared a new collaboration with fellow London indie popper Matt Maltese, ‘Salt Lake City’.
Just her second single, ‘Salt Lake City’ is another languid track from the young singer-songwriter following her debut song ‘Hide & Seek’. With a wide-open arrangement that rests heavily on the gentle strums of acoustic guitar, ‘Salt Lake City’ is able to key into those desperate feelings of escape that any young person will easily connect with.
“‘Salt Lake City’ is wrapped in delusion,” Marcus explains in a press release. “The idea of moving somewhere for someone and thinking that it will mend things when deep down you know it won’t. I think it’s something a lot of us have done, not necessarily moving to another country, but compromising a little too much for someone that isn’t worth it”.
That delusion is made clear by the fact that the American city Marcus is fantasising about is Salt Lake City. Unless you’re a Mormon or you get drafted by the Utah Jazz, no one is looking to start a new life in Salt Lake City. It’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s freezing cold in the winter, and it’s flyover country for most musicians. Not exactly the beacon of hope for young love, but then again that’s the point (sorry Utahns).
“I had been listening to a lot of Americana influenced music, and I suddenly became totally obsessed with the sound of lap steel guitar,” Marcus continues. “As soon as I was able to play one, the whole song fell into place. Alongside the shimmery guitars, the reverb heavy tambourine, and Matt singing the second verse, it turned into this Nancy and Lee, Some Velvet Morning, meets Mazzy Star type of concoction. It was such a fun and exciting experience.”
While it may start off as a bit too much of a Lana Del Rey ballad, Marcus makes a strong case for herself as a unique identity among the hordes of fellow indie-pop wunderkinds that surround her. The difference comes in that aching melody at the centre of the song’s chorus, one that adds a real sense of longing to the song’s melancholy. When Maltese joins for the second verse, the feeling of detachment only gets amplified.
Maltese joining in on the song’s second chorus among a chorus of Marcuses is quite the uplifting experience, but Marcus knows how to perfectly undercut it to drive home the loneliness at the heart of the song. The final chorus features everything drop out, with just Marcus’ voice and that acoustic guitar back from the beginning. The song gets full circle, illustrating the idea that following this lover is going to be like getting caught in and endless loop for the rest of your life. It’s clever arranging and done with just the right amount of subtlety.
Check out the audio for ‘Salt Lake City’ down below.