When Elizabeth Fagan was young, she would attend mass at her Catholic church and fantasize often about jumping up the altar and screaming into the microphone.
The singer of Portland-based band Lili St Anne (which also features members Jason Miller and Sam Arnold) liked to imagine what would happen to her if she interrupted the proceedings in such a surprising and intrusive way. What would people’s faces look like? Would she be dragged offstage?
Capturing perfectly the feverish creative energy behind Lili St Anne, new EP Bone Marrow is fraught with frenetic verve and riddled with improvisation, imposing musical chops, syncopated moments, vaulting vocal melodies and, seated quietly beneath it all, grief. Each song is about someone Fagan has lost: through the lens of animal imagery, she dives into her past, addressing growing up queer in the church and her conflicting feelings of desire that weave their way in and out of Fagans life and songs. “Music has been a way for me to talk about my relationships and my identity in a way that I just never felt allowed to,” says Fagan.
And Lili St Anne’s invitation into the primal wilderness of desire is evident in the self-contained zeitgeist of Bone Marrow, expressing dazzling humanity in its yearnings for love, sensuality, and connection in a world unglued: a summons to stand boldly in the light despite living in an environment designed to keep you in the dark.