Kellarissa’s latest EP We’re Mest is far from your stereotypical holiday album. The bells ring tenderly, followed by her heavenly symphonic prose arranged in choir-like vocals which tell a story of the holidays; gathering with family on cold winter nights. The predominant use of the accordion, an instrument associated with folk music, acts as a reference to her Finnish culture, as in the track “My Mother’s Motherland,” Kellarissa speaks of her mother’s immigration, singing “She came here fifty years ago.” The combination of accordion and bells shape the album’s atmosphere, and the soft tranquillity of the jingle bell presents a sound far removed from the well-known, rowdy holiday spirit, in “Jingle Bells.” A gust of wind rings windchimes benevolently as the album takes the listener to each new song.
Unlike Kellarissa’s earlier work, We’re Mest steps away from electronic synth-pop while still sustaining the familiar eeriness established in their earlier albums. The track “Oh No! It Might Snow” emits a peaceful serenity onto the listener as you listen to Kellarissa detail the dread that comes with snowflakes gently descending onto pavement. The melancholy voice, amidst the organs and basilica acoustics, could easily be misheard as a hymn for angels. That is, until Kellarissa sings “Never gave you grandkids / It’s a future you can’t predict / This is now our holidays,” a reference to her queerness on “Fill My Glass With Brandy, Fill My Glass With Wine.” Her subsequent references to drinking during the holidays twist the common trope of merriness into something more morose.
Kellarissa’s latest release is a demonstration of the genre-bending capabilities of her artistry, her ghostly vocals mix immaculately with the ecclesiastic atmosphere of holiday music. She intertwines traditional folk instruments with her style of synth-pop through an honest, first-hand perspective on the holidays. Despite its chill, We’re Mest is assured to keep you warm throughout the winter months.