Written By: Lauren Espina
For her debut EP, Amatus channels her weathered soul into a fiery amalgam of trip-hop, pop and neo soul. With a history littered with violence but also colored with creation, she has risen out of the South Side of Chicago as an artist who can truly call herself alternative. Leaving pre-constructed molds of female artists behind, she cultivated the ruins and inspirations of her life into her own soul sound, with her smokey vocals at the forefront of every tune.
With the first line of the opening track, “Coming Home,” she declares her mission: “I’m trying to be more than you know.” The determination in her lyrics is amplified in contrast to the song’s patient composition and here serene vocal performance, and when you hear here sing, “Keep telling myself that the distance will not ever turn me cold,” you believe she is reminding herself just as much as she is proclaiming it to the listener.
“Messin” offers the finest display of her vocal range. Filled out by a steady procession of tambourine cuts and both live and machine-made drums, the track is perhaps the poppiest of the five-track collection while still allowing the nuances of her inflection to shine through.
An alternative hip-hop flavor sneaks into the center-point of the EP, “Run Fast.” Injected with punchy repetitions of “What do you want?,” the track sets the record up for the staunch confessional that follows. With sparse instrumentation, “Punk” leaves room for Amatus’ vocals to breath, framing her candid illustration of unrequited love and allowing it to truly resonate.
Much like the trajectory of Amatus’ life, the EP leaves on an understated but undeniably powerful note with “Cherish.” She croons, “Remembering ain’t the same, so cherish your love. I cherish this love,” with just the right combination of attitude, resilience and confidence so that you feel not only that she’s lost loved ones, but that she’s persevered and dared to loved again