“Everything I write needs to be true, because I don’t like to lie”, confesses Cuntrie (aka Ebba Gustafsson Ågren) about her debut EP, Scrapbooking. Released via Feverish on 22nd January, the Swedish indie musician embraces both the silly and the serious on her first offering under her new moniker.
Best known for fronting Swedish duo Wy, Ågren’s solo work explores more quirky, personal themes through a combination of witty lyrics, sweet vocals, and minimalist synth textures. Opening track ‘Spider’ is an ideal display of this, as she extrapolates about her phobia of a small arachnid over glitchy beats, prompting her to reflect on the deeper fears of losing control, and trying to stay calm.
On the brief ‘Hamster Cancer’, twinkling keys intertwine with ominous synths to help relive the pain left behind by the loss of a beloved pet. It’s a dark subject to lament about, but Cuntrie’s emotive vocals make her reflections feel soft and poignant. “I always thought that you were cool / just wanted to know more about you” she muses on penultimate track ‘The Singer’. Lo-fi beats and lush, longing vocals blend cooly together here, making it one of the strongest tracks on the EP.
Her gentle exploration of toxic masculinity on closing track ‘Oh Boy’ is especially touching. Cuntrie paints a picture with her lyrics of the stereotypical strong, silent man who is afraid to be emotional. With the simple repeated refrain “Men don’t want to fight / they just want to cry”, she effortlessly dismantles these pressures over slow, tentative beats.
Cuntrie’s debut EP certainly has the quality of a scrapbook. It’s a nostalgic, raw, genuine collection of reflections, fears, and anticipations that have a personal, yet universal quality. Her eccentric approach to songwriting makes Scrapbooking a refreshing, truly enjoyable listen.