Shortly after the 2017 release of her first full-length, Parts Dept., Cardioid’s Lizzy Ellison teased a venture into a production-heavy sound that sampled from several genres and leaned primarily into metal and electropop. The roots of this can be heard in some tracks on Parts, in particular “Mann” and “Chinatown,” which at times break into ’70s prog reveries.
Nearly four years later, a six-song EP bearing the name Fantasy Metal dropped last month. Originally this was to be a full-length, but as Ellison explains: “Ultimately I wasn’t happy with four of the songs that were on the original 10-song Fantasy Metal album. They felt aesthetically disconnected from the dark-wave cohesion of the other tracks. In a typical year, I might not make the decision to pull them, but this year feels like a ‘fuck it’ year. I’m gonna release music in whatever way feels compelling to me and get out all of the material I’ve been sitting on.”
Some of that material is due out in a quick follow-up, an eight-track EP titled Crystal Lattice Lullabies. In contrast to the high-fidelity sound of Fantasy Metal, Ellison says this EP consists “of lo-fi songs that I’ve written over the past five years, and I found myself compelled to release them in their original form as opposed to over-polishing them.”
This understated approach is evident in the lead single off the EP, “Party Time,” which Ellison states is the first track she’s released “that had no one else involved in the tracking. I recorded all the parts and mixed it (my buddy Andrew Vait did some light mastering).” Percussion is minimal, consisting primarily of hand claps and tambourine. Simple lines in the bass and guitar allow Ellison’s signature deliberate, controlled yet lilting vocals—previously a standout in Portland’s Radiation City—to shine over everything else.
Regarding the title, Ellison says, “I think it’s obvious upon listening that this song is not about a rager, nor is this a song you would play at a rager. I thought the title was fitting given the current political climate. ‘Party Time’ means that it’s time to choose what you stand for, boldly.”
Ellison has been making a lot of bold choices in recent years, and after living in Los Angeles for the past four years, one of those choices is returning to Portland before the end of the fall. No doubt this move, back to a place that has always felt like home for her, is one of those “inevitable moments in life where we have to decide on something, and you know being vocal could possibly change the course of your life. Sometimes that choice is incredibly difficult, because someone else may be affected, but you have to do what is right in your heart.”
Regardless of any difficulties she may have encountered, Ellison seems strong in her convictions, stating simply about the track, “It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made.”