The Sky EP – 1st June 2018

The summer is here (just about) and the lion’s share of us are very excited about it. For the rest of us, the jaded millennials for whom summer serves as a reminder of time wasted, opportunities squandered and doomed relationships, Mallrat’s new EP In The Sky is the perfect soundtrack.

The 19-year-old Brisbane native, real name Grace Shaw, follows up on her dancey 2016 effort Uninvited with five tracks of wistful, detached and honest pop – the kind which Lorde, Clairo, Billie Eilish among others have perfected as of late. Mallrat sets herself apart from the field, however, with acoustic guitar-driven instrumentals like ‘Better’ or album opener ‘Groceries’ which give the record a sense of the outdoors – the park or the beach with friends you might forget.

‘Getting high’ is a running theme of the EP as Mallrat seeks to shed the weight of the problems that keep her grounded; an unrequited crush on ‘Groceries’, her feelings of being an outsider on ‘UFO’ and her concern for her friends’ mental wellbeing on ‘Texas’ all feature. The closer, ‘Make Time’ is an intriguing study on the fascination which the young seem to have on their own mortality, produced by Bon Iver collaborator BJ Burton.

However, it’s the transience of her happiness and her attachments that make for the most interesting topic on the EP’s standout ‘Better’. Even as Shaw enjoys the moment she’s in (“Everyone’s alive / So everything’s alright”) she can’t help but worry about the next (Maybe when the summer ends / I’ll drift away from all my friends). And that’s what In The Sky is ultimately all about. It’s dripping in teen uncertainty – an anxious reflection on what it’s like to have all the time in the world and not know what to do with it.

Buy: Mallrat – In The Sky EP

Review by Alex Ekong