I Am Not An Animal is the debut EP from Lily Rae’s solo project, Captain Handsome. Over its five tracks, Rae, also of Fightmilk, celebrates her passions (including Dolly Parton who’s “like my mum/therapist/‘life coach”), and shares stories of social awkwardness (“the kind of stuff you lie awake thinking about for years afterwards curdling with embarrassment.”), which you can’t help but connect and empathise with. But, y’know, probably while you’re also squirming in your seat or hiding behind your hands in solidarity.
Opener ‘Annalise’ gets the EP off to an upbeat start, but the mood soon becomes gentler and more intimate. As the pace slows, there are echoes of traditional folk and Americana. ‘Dolly Parton’ is, as the press release, suggests, a ‘sad banger’ with a lo-fi, stripped back sensibility that allows you to really focus on Rae’s rich, raw vocal. Meanwhile, the beautiful ‘Halloween’ combines sing-song harmonies with sad, revelatory lyrics.
“Everything on the EP is something that’s happened,” admits Rae. The more confessional her lyrics become, the more her personality shows through. And while there are definite nods to Rae’s influences, I Am Not An Animal manages to stay fresh, weird and wonderfully personal. It feels like she’s poured her heart out on this release and we’re all the richer for it.
I Am Not An Animal by Captain Handsome is out now on limited edition CD and digitally via Reckless Yes.