Photo: Gil Gilmour

Grace Cummings muses over a world on fire on transfixing “Up In Flames”

Grace Cummings has already wowed us this year with “Heaven”, the first single of her forthcoming album. We now have another taste of the Storm Queen (out 22 January 2022 on ATO Records) in the form of “Up in Flames.” Of the new track Cummings says:

I wrote this song on the day Notre Dame burned down. I like that I can trace this song back to the exact day with a little time stamp like that. It reminded me of a time I remember very well, standing on the sand at Jan Juc Beach looking into the ocean. Every wave that came in to the shore was thick and black. I went and looked closer at the water and it was full of scorched gum leaves.

“Up In Flames” is a stripped down affair, with nothing more than Cummings and her guitar. What feels like a folksy Dylan-esque ramble soon turns sour and weighted with Cummings’ imposing and direct voice. Sat atop a rooftop, she seems to call out to the world, trying to bring injustices to view. “It’s winter now / and I feel like Robert Frost / If only there was a birch tree to hang upon,” she commands. It’s just one of many fine lines from the song where she weaves a story of what sounds like a dissolving relationship around images of a burning Notre Dame, religious iconography, and the mourning spectators. Always on the verge of a full snarl, when she utters the song’s title at the end of each verse, she seems to reconcile and concede that fire is the final death. The whole thing is so transfixing that it makes candid moments before and after the song all the more disarming.

Watch the video for “Up In Flames” below or find the studio version on streaming platforms.

Grace Cummings’ new album, Storm Queen, is out 14th January 2022 on ATO Records and Virgin Music Australia (pre-order). You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube.