Music, and art at large, is most powerful when infused with the intimacy that Abby Sage taps into on her first LP release “The Rot.” 

The Los Angeles-based artist has been releasing songs since 2021, giving her own spin on alt-pop music and adding a level of emotional grit to the traditionally soft genre. 

I didn’t do as much internal digging as I would have liked. I was observing more than digesting my own self,” she said in an interview with B-Sides on her previous work. “The Rot,” however, shifts this perspective, as Sage decomposes herself throughout the course of the album, providing a gently cathartic experience for the artist and listeners alike. 

Sage’s overall sound is ethereal, elevating the classic combination of vocals and acoustic guitar to the next level. Her voice holds a level of familiarity and earthiness reminiscent of a lullaby, one which guides her through the web of stories formed throughout the work. Every supplemental voicing, from percussive elements to glazy-soft synths, feels perfectly placed, shaping the ecosystem in which the songs exist. 

The rawness of “The Rot” is carried through both its sonic and lyrical elements, producing a body of songs that appears to synthesize directly as Sage performs. She confesses her desire to drown in herself — to drink in her filth and feed innate hungers – yet avoid the pitfalls of sinking too deep and dissolving herself in her own solace.

While each song stands strong independently, the body of work unites to form a cohesive swirl of sonic self-discovery. Tracks like “Three Floors, Three Doors” and “Back & Bone” dip into electronica and a more retro sound while still retaining Sage’s distinct softness and intimacy through the noise. 

Conversely, “Phantom Arm” links to the album’s recurring theme of the physical self, dialing in through bone-like tones and brain-itching bubbly synths. The album paints Sage’s stages of emotion as she oscillates between wanting and release, living within and escaping from oneself. Its sound is familiar and solemnly comforting, yet an evolution of the learned and loved modern indie-alt scene of recent years.

As Sage steps into a more comfortable stage of her sound and digs further into her discomfort and desires, her potential is unbounded. I am excited to see what she’ll do next.



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