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Nostalgia and Decay Fuel elison’s Latest Single “Fruit Flies”

Des Moines, Iowa-based indie dream pop duo, Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura (collectively known as elison), take a critical view of rose-tinted nostalgia in their latest single “Fruit Flies”. Using New Year’s Eve as a cyclical structure of resolution that comes and goes each year, they dive into a cycle of death and rebirth that seems endless and expansive – and not always in a good way.

“Ball drops, it’s New Year’s Eve again / And I’m full of fruit flies” sings Kephart in the opening verse. “I still haven’t taken out my trash / Body molding from the inside”. There’s a resistance to the romanticizing of the cleansing effects of a New Year’s resolution that gives this song a sense of density that is confounding. Combined with the noisy crashing of cymbals and moaning vocals, there is something eerie at work here. Each resolution piles up and starts to decay from the inside out.

“When I started playing music during the pandemic, after decades of wishing I was brave enough to try, I found myself revisiting the girl that ignited the dream in the first place, my sixteen-year-old self,” explains singer Marissa Kephart. “Through that process I started questioning the actual growth I previously thought I had achieved.”

In many ways, this song asks whether we truly change from year to year, from resolution to resolution, or does something from our past always remained unchanged in our personalities? “Get drunk on the memories / Spin out of control” is the line that stays with me as I listen because it reminds me that nostalgia about youthful hijinks are not always positive experiences. Just because we feel the distance of time past doesn’t mean that we have changed between here and there. In the end, elison gets stuck in an endless loop – a warning about how easy it is to get sucked into the vortex of a nostalgia machine, and how we may develop fruit flies from our rotting, unresolved resolutions to change.

“Fruit Flies” is available now on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Charlie Maybee

Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.

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