Ambiance and atmospheric building becomes the foundation for bedroom pop and quickly takes over on True Blue’s 2018 EP, Edge Of. A five-track record that while spanning just around 15 minutes, gives moments of existential prowess through gleeful instrumentation and progression.
Based in New York City, Maya Laner under the True Blue alias becomes ethereal and almost skeletal upon the touch. Her vocals aren’t exactly humanistic and inviting but instead have this distance about them where the instrumentals are the real foundation for warmth.
The opening track “Bad Behavior” is soft and has moments of velvet to the ears. Piano and synthetic horns attach to the audience like a leech, wrapping this ear-worm sensibility without all the grime and dirt.
As Laner introduces themselves describing, “Shouldn’t have dug my nails in again, I should know, leaves a mark on the skin. But I caught myself holding your hand under the table.” While not entirely based in reality on delivery, the tone of the vocals appear somehow detached through the instrumentation and from a completely different side of compassion.
As the chorus interjects, True Blue says, “I have no control of my bad behavior, I have no control of my bad behavior.” While Laner confesses wholeheartedly, “Bad Behavior” quickly leads this perfected segue into “Rocky Bottom” where the tense drop of noise trots into the swinging peace.
Times, where “Rocky Bottom” pulls on the emotional strings, begin with the higher-pitched delivery from Laner as the production becomes cutesy and based almost entirely around fields and meadows. Lyrically, however, “Rocky Bottom” illustrates a more solitary story for narration.
Describing, “A lone star in his sorry state, taciturn, a slow burn. I know now it’s true, you shouldn’t let cowboys lie to you!” As Laner pulls back the curtain on this wholesome but solo journey; “Rocky Bottom” is the new age tale of the wanderer where electronic harmonica and horse trots play out our hero into the dusty and savage wasteland.
One of the final chapters for Edge Of, True Blue dusts off the strings and works “Mirror Power” as this ballad of loose playstyles based around near 80s synth wave discovery. The chorus which describes, “Same old stranger after hours, leaning into mirror power” uses the strings to wrap the audience inside this tangled web of emotion. Laner’s delivery is gorgeous on this track and neatly ties a bow around comfort, but in the sentence pours tears instead of joy.
The percussion inside “Mirror Power” is fantastic however and makes for one of the better instrumental examples on Edge Of. Each piece by True Blue coincides with one arching story of five parts.
While it spends more time being investigated and begging to be on repeat rather than easily digested in one go, Edge Of is a graceful funeral. Loosely associated with dirt and decay, Edge Of becomes the emotional burying in only 15 minutes.