SINGLE REVIEW: AILSA TULLY – PARASITE

Ailsa Tully’s ‘Parasite’ is like the slow-motion effect on TV, film and on our phones. Maybe it’s because life has become fast and erratic so we love the idea of slowing time down to luxuriate in the moment. And so it is with music; I love tracks that slow time, like the astral plane journeys of Death Machine, the stillness and space-to-breath of Agnes Obel or Clara Mann’s clock-stopping ‘I Didn’t Know You Were Leaving Today’. ‘Parasite’ demonstrates a laconic fragility with a bent, but unbroken, strength at its core. An apt emotion to convey considering this is a song that aims to confront a controlling and manipulative person and highlight, as Tully says, “the insidious manner in which sexism takes form, particularly within the inner workings of the music industry” (the lyrics are printed below). Sexism as a parasite is a strong metaphor and it’s a sad truth for women that initial attention and compliments can often be a thin veneer that covers a desire to mould and control. I am often reminded of Margaret Atwood’s chilling quote “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them”.

Ailsa Tully migrated from cello to bass guitar, and you can hear this in the use of double stopping and a confidence when playing at the bass’s higher register and, after being enthralled by ‘Parasite’, I headed to Tully’s Bandcamp page and bought her other tracks. Musically, I am reminded of Marika Hackman’s pastoral We Slept at Last from 2015, which remains one of my all-time favourite albums. There’s a bucolic charisma to the sound of ‘Parasite’ and, though I would not make light of the subject matter, it has the feel of a lullaby heard in a dream and half-remembered. That could be the reason I am able to listen it on repeat without ever tiring of its effortless sophistication, and I very much hope there is an album planned for 2021.

There are four tracks to buy on Ailsa Tully’s Bandcamp page and she was also one of the artists that performed on 20 June last year at one of the Balcony Festival streamed events and this one was in aid of the Mental Health Foundation and you can watch Ailsa Tully from 42 minutes on the YouTube video.

I’m white as bone china fragile to the touch,

My lips are magenta stained to rile you up,

I can see your saliva feel your prying eyes.

You trace the creases of my every line.

So, let’s pretend im exquisite,

And I’m just what your missing,

Wouldn’t you love to own me?

Wouldn’t you love to control me?

I could break you down you parasite.

You just wait until I get your right.

I could break you down you parasite.

You just wait until I get your right.

And yes, I am tempting I’ve been on your mind.

A will to your bending as pure as you can find.

And I am naive I make things so easy.

Manipulation as fine as it could be.

So, let’s pretend im exquisite,

And I’m just what your missing,

Wouldn’t you love to own me?

Wouldn’t you love to control me?

I could break you down you parasite.

You just wait until I get your right.

I could break you down you parasite. You just wait until I get your right

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