Is It Really a Secret?
Ordinal Records

“From my bedroom to yours,” reads the biographical blurb on Moon Racer’s Bandcamp page. While musicians and writers alike have criticized the classification of “bedroom pop” for being vague, incapable of capturing the range of sounds and themes explored by artists working by their bedsides, Durham’s Autumn Ehinger clearly identifies with the term. On her debut album as Moon Racer, Is It Really a Secret?, Ehinger embodies a consciousness too shy or pensive to commune directly with others, vocalizing vague, moody sentiments like, “days won’t change” and “I feel the same as always” to the ether of the internet, where kindred spirits may stumble upon them.

Like the work of her peers and predecessors (such as Owen Ashworth of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, whose label, Ordinal Records, released Is It Really a Secret?), Ehinger’s music is remarkably consistent. Each song begins with a persistent drum loop alongside a gentle synth riff, setting the water-colored stage for Ehinger’s distorted, reverb-inflected murmurs. Sonically, a single song more or less conveys the record’s overall tone; but lyrically, the tracks work as a meaningful whole, mingling memory with desire. “Last Kiss” and “Friendly Ghost” are haunted by former amorous adventures, whereas “New Crush” and “Starry Up” ring with a tentative hope for love anew. Ehinger sounds as though she yearns to be vulnerable and intimate, to feel excited about another person once more, but repeatedly checks herself with reminders of the possibility of pain. The juxtaposition of these cognitive states within the same musical atmosphere lends the record emotional density and saves it from redundancy.

Is It Really a Secret? doesn’t stretch the possibilities of home recording, relying on slightly timeworn techniques and aesthetic sensibilities. But it is a cozy, warm album in which to wrap yourself while reflecting upon summer days past and brighter ones to come.