Helen Ballentine aka Skullcrusher is releasing her debut album Quiet The Room in October, and following on from lead single “Whatever Fits Together” she has now shared a couplet of new tracks “They Quiet The Room” and “Quiet The Room”. She explains:
“”Quiet the Room” is the first song I wrote for the album although I didn’t know it yet. It felt like opening a secret door into a new world. I wrote it on the piano I grew up with and inevitably felt the presence of my childhood self. This would linger with me throughout the process of making the record.
“Simply put, the song is about communication and isolation, the kind experienced by a child that influences their journey into adulthood. I was thinking about my childhood bedroom but also an unknown room, surreal and empty but for the weighted presence of things unsaid…
“I had a thought to write an alternate version of the song with different chords on guitar. This version, “They Quiet the Room” became a different song entirely. It shifted the tone of the lyrics and instead of a dark room I imagined playing outside in the daytime, lost in some fantasy world. The two together, “They Quiet the Room” into “Quiet the Room,” are like the passing of a day. Perhaps one spent as a child making up imaginary games outside before returning inside for dinner, crossing over some kind of barrier as dusk settles, to have dinner or sit at the piano alone.”
Although it was the second iteration, “They Quiet The Room” leads off the single (as it will the album) with gently stirring guitar chords underpinning Ballentine’s delicate but pointed inquisition: “Where do you want to be? / Someplace you cannot see.” As the song reaches its finale, glistening atmospherics lift the song into the sunshine, as if Ballentine is coming out of her isolation and into a new life.
“Quiet The Room”, then, seems to take us back into that secret place, the dampened atmosphere of the song making us feel like we’re inside a secret room of the songwriter’s memory, watching her play her childhood piano. The words are the same, but this time the isolated feeling is warm and accepted, as if this is where she is at her most true self, in touch with all versions of her past.