Premiere: The Vulnerable Intensity of Half Gringa’s “Body of Water”

Half Gringa © 2017
RIYL: Japanese Breakfast, Waxahatchee, Torres

“I‘m just a body of water,” sings Izzy Olive plaintively on her band’s latest song. An introspective songwriter with many stories to tell, Olive describes herself as an anxious young woman who overthinks things constantly. She calls her musical project, Half Gringa, a “long, hard look in the mirror.” Her music is a fluid mix of the mind and the heart, and nowhere is that more apparent than on “Body of Water,” which directly addresses the intensity of Olive’s own human experience.

I was caught off-guard in a darkened bar
I tried not to stare at your pretty hair
Whispered sentences that I should have said
In a locked bathroom to a shower head
Too much reticence,
I’m intelligent enough
to know that it’s in my head
This insipid dread
Sort of contact sport
Sort of contraband
Listen: “Body of Water” – Half Gringa

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Body of Water,” the sophomore single off Half Gringa’s forthcoming debut album, Gruñona. Izzy Olive’s reflective, ambitious and evocative songwriting is supported by musicians Sam Cantor, Andes Fonseca, Ivan Pyzow, and Sean Saville; together, the full band mix folk and rock elements to evoke incredibly dynamic emotions. As Olive lays herself bare in “Body of Water,” her music offers a similar vulnerability through poignant guitar riffs and warm, vibing grooves.

Gruñona - Half Gringa

Gruñona – Half Gringa

It’s just too soon
I tell myself each afternoon
I’m not convinced,
honest haven’t seen him since

But I sit around and invite this shit
Sort of mourning band
Sort of language I don’t understand

“I spend a lot of time examining my own thought process, mostly as therapy, to explore and acknowledge the complexity of my own feelings and actions,” explains Izzy Olive. “It’s a good reminder that you can have two very oppositional feelings about something or someone or yourself, which is difficult to reconcile but important to interrogate.”

Half Gringa’s candor is appealing: She paints a picture of her own inner demons, beginning with this scene at a bar where she can’t summon the courage to say what she really wants to say. That portrait swiftly devolves into an exploration of self-confidence and self-doubt, and as playing field switches from the physical realm to a metaphysical realm.

I make jokes
They’re smash and grab,
second hand smoke
And I do believe that this
will not stop happening to me
Maybe if I keep talking myself through the play
Quit sulking, loose promise to stay
Chin-chucking relatives in other states
I’m nothing without what I need to say
Half Gringa © Mike Dunn

Half Gringa (L-R): Ivan Pyzow, Andres Fonseca, Izzy Olive, Sean Saville, Sam Cantor // © Mike Dunn

Tension builds slowly throughout “Body of Water” as new instruments add color and depth, in addition to timbre. Yet there is no big climax; there is no overflowing of emotion in a single release, no upheaval of constants that change the pace of this song. She repeats the final line – I’m just a body, I’m just a body of water – and then, that’s that; the song is over, without musical resolution.

So infrequently do we find true resolution in our own lives. This world doesn’t set out to make sense; it doesn’t owe us anything, from explanations to comforts and beyond. Following in line, Half Gringa’s conclusion does not include full resolution. It does not pretend to “mean” more than the interpretation that it is. A human’s inner discrepancies – incongruities, irreconcilable feelings, etc – are akin to the natural turmoil of water: Waves come and go, rushing together and parting again. It’s all a part of the same system.

The conflict we hear in Half Gringa’s “Body of Water” is human, and it’s beautiful.

:: pre-order Gruñona here ::

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Gruñona - Half Gringa

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York’s many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch’s words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing.
Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com