EP: Bonnie Kemplay – Running Out of Things To Say, Running Out of Things To Do review

by Phil Scarisbrick

A first release since signing to Dirty Hit, this is a stunning debut EP from a vital new voice

Written between the ages of seventeen and twenty, Bonnie Kemplay’s new EP, Running Out of Things To Say, Running Out of Things To Do, is a six track collection that showcases her ear for carefully constructed bedroom pop. Its hooks grab you – before the pure emotion of her vocal pounds you into devoted submission. The production is also impeccably curated, adding just enough colour to allow her voice to shine, without ever threatening to steal the limelight. 

Opening track, Winter, creeps in with piano stabs and the ambient noise that transports you into secluded, frost-covered park with the only sounds penetrating your tranquility coming from choral birds. ‘You can’t stand silence for a minute and say ‘it’s cold isn’t it? / Is the weather all we’ve left to talk about these days?’ proclaims Kemplay, as she grapples to release herself from the shackles of small talk and embrace the truth, no matter how heartbreaking it may end up being.

The stand out tracks are a pair of finger-picked acoustic numbers – Checkers and closer, Was It Obvious? The former also features ambient noise, this time seemingly ripped from a childhood home movie on VHS that fades away to Kemplay longing for a return to that reality, as she sings ‘So I’ll take myself back to that summer / Playing checkers with my brother.’ The latter does what all great closing tracks should do, and feels like a culmination of the rest of the record. The regrets, the resilience and the romantic yearnings that define the teenage years for most of us are all present, with the EP’s most beautiful melody saved for its closing moments.

These six tracks really do feel like something special, and present an artist who you can’t help but get excited by. For now, we only get to spend twenty minutes in her world, but it is somewhere you will want to revisit over and over again.

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