To understand where longtime Seattle musician Gretta Harley is coming from on her full-length solo debut album, it helps to have at least a passing knowledge of the periodic table. Element 115 is Ununpendium, a remarkably unstable element that explodes into its component elements just as it snaps into existence. It’s no accident that Harley named her record “Element 115 (Uup).”
The 14-track song cycle was created after she experienced a sudden, intense romance that burned white-hot before fading just as quickly. Kind of like the element that gives Harley’s album its name. As such, the songs find her laying bare her soul over the course of 46 cinematic minutes.
Lid-lifter “Kaleidoscopic Eyes” sets the tone for “Element 115 (Uup),” and Harley later score with “Breathe,” “Toe Tapping Branch,” “Can’t Find My Words,” “Swimming Backstroke” and “Needle in the Groove.” Be advised that it might take a couple spins to fully appreciate what she’s trying to do here, but patient listeners will be rewarded. (Jeffrey Sisk)