Track-by-Track: Grace Turner’s Debut EP ‘Half Truths’ Is Poetic & Bright

Half Truths - Grace Turner
Newcastle-based Grace Turner’s ‘Half Truths’ is a poetic six-song collection that cuts through the noise, making sense of her thoughts by simply singing them aloud.
Stream: “Dead or Alive” – Grace Turner




Powerful and poetic is Grace Turner’s Half Truths, her first EP released August 7, 2020. Written and recorded over the past three years in collaboration with good friends, this six-song collection sets Turner apart, cutting through the noise and making sense of her thoughts by simply singing them aloud.

Half Truths - Grace Turner

Half Truths – Grace Turner

Though based in Newcastle, Australia, Turner wrote and recorded Half Truths in a variety of locations, from bedrooms to studios. And even still, the EP is remarkably cohesive, with key embellishments from her friends Mat Taylor and Shanna Watson, among others; glueing it all together is Turner’s trademark lyricism and self-introspection. “I write music because of the continual untangling of mind, emotions, experience and trying to understand the world at all its micro, meso and macro levels. Sometimes I feel with this collection of songs I am earnestly screaming something at the world and at the same time trying to take it all back again,” Turner says.

Oh what a time to be alive
Steadily walking towards our demise
I drove all night
To clear my mind
I drove all night
To save my life
– “Disdain,” Grace Turner

Intensely personal, Half Truths echoes Turner’s sentiments and intent. The EP begins poetically and drum-driven with “Disdain,” sparking the vision of a late night drive, and the feeling of darkness dissipating, replaced by some sense of gratitude for the ordinary. “Crossed Your Mind,” then injects a dose of realism towards mortality, with a guitar tone and gravelly vocals pleasantly reminiscent of Julia Jacklin.

Grace Turner © Benjamin Fraser

Grace Turner © Benjamin Fraser

Standout track “Half Light” is instrumentally steady, while Turner belts a brilliant kind of diary entry about the way life is often made up of parts that don’t always fit together. And triple-j featured “Dead or Alive” brings the EP to its most upbeat point; though the lyrics are relative dark, the danceable chorus acts as a push out of that darkness and into warmer, brighter days.

Half you half me
Nothing was meant to be
Half deranged half resentful
Half missing your eventful self
Half don’t care why
Half trying not to cry
Half playing the game
Half losing it all in vain
– “Half Light,” Grace Turner

“I chose the title Half Truths as I was going through such a turbulent time and the songs were written whether I stood by what they meant or not, they were spat out of me. I was shedding off expectations of who I thought I was as a musician, woman, friend, lover; questioning it all,” Turner says of the EP. While the six songs on Half Truths do question the world extensively, they also powerfully declare hope for the future. Ending with these words on “Get Your Head Straight,” “try to be good try to be kind, do your best to find peace of mind,” Grace Turner leaves us, and herself, in the sunlight.

Experience Half Truths wherever you listen to music, and take a peek into the full EP with Atwood Magazine as Grace Turner goes track-by-track through the meaning and making of each song!

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:: stream/purchase Half Truths here ::
Stream: ‘Half Truths’ EP – Grace Turner



:: Inside Half Truths ::

Half Truths - Grace Turner

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Disdain

This song is about those times when there is nothing that will ease your mind other than driving. I wrote this song in the car. I often write in the car but this is one of the only keepers I’ve had from such sessions. I took it to my drummer Mat Taylor’s back shed where we jam and his encouragement on this one helped me finish it. It’s so fun to play live and we usually have it at the front of the set and it gets us all in a good and energetic mood. My guitarist, Shanna Watson, wrote the very juicy guitar riff when they first joined the band and it just glued everything together.

Crossed Your Mind

I wrote Crossed Your Mind [around] the same time as all of the songs on the EP. It was a very prolific time of writing for me. I was very obsessed with and afraid of death at this time. When you say something out loud it lessens its power over you. Secrets and fears fester if they are held only within darkness. I wanted to yell about what I was most afraid of. I remember feeling slightly guilty and self-conscious about singing about such morbid things at shows, somewhere people want to go to dance away their worries. But then I found that audiences really appreciated that I was singing about things that they too thought about.

Half Light

Half Light is probably the song I feel most proud of on the record. I think I was influenced by the songs “Brighter” by Cass Mcoombes and “Drive to Drink” by Jess Locke, as they both utilise the technique of repetition on a theme and are two of my favourite songs! I remember I was at some gardens with my family and I was walking along quietly writing it in my head while I was with them all day. I like writing songs while I’m with people and often I’m quietly composing in my mind when I’m at social occasions. Essentially this song is about all the different selves we have inside of us and [how] they might not always fit together very well; all of the juxtapositions and dissonance we live with.

 Easy I Fall

I wrote Easy I Fall at a time I wrote it when I was feeling tirelessly pursued. I felt like I was trying to communicate things and wasn’t being heard or taken seriously. I felt like the power imbalances in my relationship were getting the better of me and I was submitting where I should have been listened to. I sometimes joke that the song is about trying to break up with someone but sleeping with them instead. Falling back into old patterns. I have always loved first lines, I think they are the most important and exciting part of a song. They set the tone, set a place, and I like making them interesting. The song itself had a few different iterations, from solo voice and guitar, to finally the idea of having the band come in the second half. I recorded the vocals in my back shed, and my collaborator, Mat Taylor, recorded the rest of the drums, bass, and guitar at his house.

Dead or Alive

“Dead or Alive” was written after a friend had called me to see if I was ok and said to me, “sometimes I don’t know if you’ll be dead or alive.” I wrote the song in one sitting after the phone call. I played “Dead or Alive” for the first time live at an open mic in Mayfield (Newcastle) when a friend and I were frequenting them for practice with new songs. I pushed on and took it into the studio and realised it was actually quite a good song. The themes are dark however the band, extra guitars and pushed vocals in the melody adds the balance between ‘I’m not ok’ and ‘there’s a light at the end of the tunnel’ feeling I wanted. Though dark lyrically at times, the song is essentially about good friends getting us through hard times. 

Get Your Head Straight

Get your Head Straight was written the night of Trump being elected. I was so disheartened, like a lot of the world, but I felt really alone. My mental health was very bad at the time and I felt like I was breaking because of a system however I was being told that my problems were essentially my fault, that I needed to change my ways to be better. I wanted society to change not me. At some point I realised I actually did have to get better, and find my own way to live with the dissonance. I don’t necessarily believe in some utopian place of “being better;” we are always floating in and out of wellness.

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:: stream/purchase Half Truths here ::

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Half Truths - Grace Turner

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Lowndes is a writer and film photographer, currently living in South Carolina after a few years in Nashville, TN. She’s a big fan of morning news podcasts, cool-weathered city walks, and those moments when a song unexpectedly makes you feel something. These days, you can probably find her drinking cold brew and working on a book of poems, or writing articles here at Atwood.