Wilted is a distinct type of melancholy– one that you can feel in the ache of your bones, and that smells of petrichor. The most recent release from queer indie-rock band Riley Parker, is the first single off their upcoming EP, Broken Promises. Sonically lush, Wilted tastes sickly saccharine– a dream shadowed by the hue of rose colored glasses.
Established in 2015, Riley Parker originated after lead singer, Katie Domschke, relocated from Florida to Nashville, Tennessee. Not too long after her arrival, Domschke joined a unique songwriting group that allowed her to hone her craft for the price of one song a week, or a $1 penalty in the pizza jar.
This, in combination with her own experience growing up gay in the south, and the general lack of queer representation in the music industry, led to the genesis of something powerful for Domschke. She elaborated that, “Since there is still such a massive hole representing my experience in our collective cultural nexus, I decided to incorporate my sexuality into my songs hoping to offer help to somebody else by validating their experience.”
Most recently featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk “Entries We Love,” Wilted ruminates over a sour love that has wilted like neglected plants. The track is broadly sweeping, with a sliding tone that enhances the hypnotizing nature of Domschke’s voice. Domschke has a conversationally vehement tone that creates this soft lullaby sound, with a reinforced manner that rebounds across the air.
Lyrically, Wilted is symbolically sentimental, pulling out buried memories we thought we could actually forget. At one point the lyrics beg, Take back all your wilted flowers you neglect, in this greenhouse that once was my own room– the words ring out with a heavy staccato that emphasizes the weight in Domschke’s voice, leading into a slide on the word ‘wilted’ that almost mimics the drooping of a dead flower.
The band’s vivid imagery serves to elevate their sound to a more personal level, connecting with listeners’ subconscious in an effort to provide some sort of healing. Consolatory in a sorrowful manner, Riley Parker’s latest track manages to find a sense of comfort in the solitude of decayed love.
By Cassidy Copenheaver