There is something to be said about the type of songwriting that doesn’t require a full band to make it work. Making use of just an acoustic guitar and her voice, Rochester singer songwriter Camille Tharp, or ice bar, as she is so endearingly known, has put out ante meridiem, a collection of wonderfully emotional acoustic songs recommended for those who enjoy the likes of Sharon Von Etten or Daughter. Despite their simplicity, each of the EP’s five tracks channel a strong element of genuineness that makes it abundantly clear that a lot more went into ante meridiem than what initially meets the ear. It is that emotional authenticity that makes these songs such heavy-hitters, and with that, I welcome you to our Album of the Week.
ante meridiem, in living up to its name, really capitalizes on the mellow vibes of early morning with delicately-plucked acoustic guitar progressions that would pair exceptionally well with a foggy sunrise and a cup of coffee. “It was in the early hours of the morning where all these songs came to be; written, demoed and recorded. Nothing was intended to be created that way. It’s a natural thing to spill all emotions onto paper while weaving them throughout melodies at the most hazy and uncertain time of the day.” says Tharp on the overall inspiration for ante meridiem. And the vibe works–the combination of simple, precise guitar and the soft coo of Tharp’s vocals makes for an affecting degree of tenderness that is as haunting as it is beautiful.
The EP starts strong with “Blank,” a passionate outpouring of desperation that evokes hints of Fiona Apple with lyrics such as “but leave me empty, leave me whole / just leave me something so I know.” The song brims with feeling, and the truthfulness of it all is very detectable. My personal favorite of the EP, “Clouded,” is fragile and heartfelt, dealing with the stigmas of falling in love that so often go wholly unjustified. Lyrically, this track hits hard, posing rhetorical questions as a mode of revelation—“well it must be hell for you my dear, to live in fear and be so strong / but tell me now, is it alright to be weak just this once? / is that so wrong, is this all wrong?”
If you’re looking for a quality session with the feels, ante meridiem has you covered. ice bar’s delivery is beautifully wounded, but still manages to come off strong by use of her penetrating truthfulness. The result is moving in nature and will leave you in a contemplative tizzy, speaking volumes about the EP’s effectiveness as a whole. Check out “Clouded” below and follow the link to her bandcamp page to download the rest of ante meridiem.