Album Review: The Death of Summer and Other Promises by Etta Marcus

By Siya Vallabh

Overall Rating: 7/10

Etta Marcus has not had her big break yet. She has not had any hit singles, no big tours or shoutouts from major celebrities. But I think it’s only a matter of time until she does. The first song I heard of hers was “Theatre”, the opening track on this “mini album”. The Death of Summer and Other Promises sits somewhere between an EP and an LP, its 8 tracks come in at a little less than a half-hour of runtime. 


One of the immediate standouts is Marcus’ voice. She has a dark, warm timbre that at points can be downright haunting. It’s a style reminiscent of artists like Florence Welch and Hozier, although in tracks like “Lovesick Boy Prays”, Marcus completely changes her voice into something more childlike and wispy. In tracks like “Theatre”, she soars over the instrumentals with dramatic, showy belts while in “Fruit Flies” she sings drenched in reverb with nothing to accompany her but a distant electric guitar. 

I wouldn’t say that Etta Marcus is reinventing music, a lot of the songs in this collection are reminiscent of other more popular artists both of the past and present. “Little Wing” is reminiscent of songs like “Crush” and “American Teenager” by Ethel Cain, and “Skin Parade” brought back memories of Mazzy Star and certain Radiohead tracks, but Marcus has a way of making these sounds her own. 

I will admit that I was a bit disappointed with “Girls that Play”, one of the singles off the mini-album. I think it’s easily the weakest point. The melodies in the chorus are lazy and the vocals throughout the track are uninspired. There is a redeeming quality in the descriptiveness of the lyricism though, something prevalent throughout the entire collection of tracks. 

In “Theatre”, she sings “Call me baby when you forget my name”, during which a brief pause in the instrumental serves as an absolute gut punch. She calls back to the title of the album several times, notably in “Lovesick Boy Prays” when she sings “Summers on its deathbed and you’ve no time to grieve”. Another notable line for me was the repetition of “I’m just like the other girls and I am made of love” in “Fruit Flies”. 

The album was mixed and engineered well, although there was nothing particularly notable about it. I appreciated the production of the album a lot more, from the choice of instrumentation to the choice of effects. I especially liked the little touches throughout, a memorable one being the hard breathing sounds in the back of “Lovesick Boy Prays” acting as part of the percussion of the track. 

Etta Marcus is still in the infancy of her career. As she develops as an artist and musician, I do not doubt that she will continue to find the audience she deserves and I am anticipating what she does next. 


Death of Summer and Other Promises is available for streaming and download everywhere. 

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