Methyl Ethel’s scientific nuanced moniker is a nod and wink to Jake Webb’s father’s work in fibre glass – made using methyl ethyl ketone peroxide. Webb, who’s the protagonist at the helm of this musical project, opted to switch out the ethyl in favour for Ethel “in order to create an identity, a personality with a name”. Following on from 2015’s ‘Oh Inhuman Spectacle’ Webb is readying a sophomore release that goes by the name of ‘Everything is Forgotten’. This second album, not unlike Webb’s musical alter ego, feels like it could have been birthed from various compounds and properties; flitting from rubbery funk to celestial hues and the old flirtation with a darker end of the sonic spectrum.
There’s an ambiguity to ‘Everything is Forgotten’ both sonically and lyrically – much of the album leaves you wondering what the themes are behind Webb’s words and most tracks unravel with otherworldly sounds and textures making you ponder what instrument birthed these peculiar nuggets. According to the record’s press release it would seem Webb is happy for his new body of work to dodge any preconceptions and to project an elusiveness “When I was making music alone, before I had the band, it was genderless and without a paper trail of information about my past”. Webb’s paper trail is a hint back to his native Perth, Western Australia and the albums he used to hear in his parent’s car; doo-wop, The Beatles, The Everly Brothers and The Beach Boys, making up his influences. Despite Webb’s proclamation towards his childhood inspirations ‘Everything is Forgotten’ has touchpoints that carry a ‘Neon Bible’-era Arcade Fire ambiance, whilst the spidery guitar found on final track ‘Schlager’ provokes memories of Radiohead at their most ‘In Rainbows’.
‘Everything is Forgotten’ is a delicately twisted pop album; it doesn’t set out to make bold, world changing statements. On a first listen it’s almost unremarkable but after repeated listens, the album exposes itself more and more – as if to reward the listener for numerous revisits. This is a blessing and a curse; for those music fans happy to play the long game, Methyl Ethel’s new venture will become a well-trodden path but for those not seduced by its quirky pop leanings from the off – this album could become its own cautionary tale – ‘Everything is Forgotten’.
‘Everything is Forgotten’ by Methyl Ethel, comes out March 3rd via 4AD.
Words and thoughts of Adam Williams