Abby Nissenbaum is a musician to her very core – a classically trained soprano and musical theatre performer, the singer-songwriter has rediscovered her musical roots with an even grander drive following studying in social psychology and data analytics. With a progressively focused sound that draws on the burgeoning indie rock scene whilst firmly influenced by the iconic female songwriters of the 60s. Only blessing our ears last year with debut single “Winston”, the singer has since gone from strength to strength, climaxing in this body of work.
The EP is sonically and thematically diverse, with Nissenbaum narrating us (self-defined as unreliably) through her struggles with depression, heartbreak, addiction and isolation. There is a fantastic emotional density to the writer’s tales, as we feel encapsulated and encompassed in her life as if it were our own. Breezing through alternative pop, folk and rock-leaning soundscapes, instrumentally there is plenty of crowd pleasing moments of pleasure, with rousing guitars, stylish percussion and ear-worm melodies. Lead single “Shelly Johnson” is amongst the most compelling cuts on the project, with Nissenbaum achieving wonderful depth in her emotional rawness atop the lively instrumental.
Spaking on the EP, Nissenbaum comments, “Conceptually, ‘Unreliable Narrator’ is based on the premise that our self-narratives– whether negative or positive– inform our thoughts, beliefs, and actions. I began writing this EP during a really difficult time in my life, as I was leaving a PhD in Social Psychology, and had recently read a paper where maladaptive thought patterns (like anxiety or depression) were characterised as “unreliable narrators.” While I think we should trust ourselves and respect that all of our emotions are valid, I also think it’s important to remember that not all the terrible things we think or hear about ourselves are actually true. As a lesbian artist, I especially hope that this EP and its message reaches an LGBTQIA+ audience. Even if the world feeds us near-constant negative input about who they think we are, we do not have to believe it or turn it inward! We deserve to feel good about our existence and all that we bring to the world.”
Resonant in its pain, Unreliable Narrator is a triumphant opening chapter in Nissenbaum’s journey towards greatness.
Listen to the full EP below