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A Review of Luke Ellingson’s Upcoming Album Clementine

Dylan Healy

“I want to make you cry,” he says. As if the past year alone weren’t reason enough to shed a tear or two, New Haven indie outfit Luke Ellingson (Noah Silvestry) delves into worlds real and imagined, emerging with an embrace of cathartic, unbridled emotion. On his sophomore LP, Clementine, life’s quieter moments—a bluejay seen through a kitchen window, the glow of a cell phone screen, the patter of midnight rain—find themselves swept up in tempestuous psychological tumult. Wondering where it all went wrong, Ellingson is haunted by hard truths and the ghosts of good times past. Whether internally, cosmically, interpersonally, or biologically, the Philadelphia expat wastes no time dwelling, acknowledging faith lost, bridges burned, and loose ends that continue to fray. Singles “Keep a Light,” “Unwind,” and “Ancient” relay Ellingson’s pursuit of renewed wholeness in the midst of a dizzying year. Now he’s just trying to figure out how to be his own best friend.

2020’s Like Wires Humming found Ellingson roaming with a bold curiosity. WXPN’s The Key likened the debut to being “The National-esque,” and harkening back to “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Wilco”. On Clementine, his second release with Hartford indie label Funnybone Records, Ellingson’s wanderlust adopts new forms from within the confines of his New Haven apartment; a more expansive internal universe is revealed. With a sprawling range of influences from every corner of the map, soaring shoegaze moments on the album’s lead singles coat the record with a dark, matte wash. Elsewhere, Ellingson’s writing has a more delicate power, teetering anxiously between wry and earnest. There’s an undeniable precision to dynamic; as both songwriter and producer, Ellingson knows exactly how to speak his own language. When to hold back, when to dig in, when to let go.


Clementine’s release is planned for late June 25, 2021 on Funnybone Records. Be sure to keep an eye out.

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