It’s been 18 months since The Folk Ups released their second EP, Shelby, during which time they left Hong Kong for their respective universities. But one half of the duo, Jasmine Kelly is still making music, recently releasing her debut EP, Sorry I’m Latte.
Kelly has swapped the duo’s upbeat indie-folk stylings for warmer, jazzy chords and nostalgic slow funk. Opener Island has all the earmarks of a song by James Blake collaborator Connan Mockasin, with silky-smooth guitar interplay between her longing refrain, “I think of you as my sweetheart every single day/ Here in my heart, you are the one that got away.”
Kelly’s dulcet tones conjure up the image of a sun-loving, carefree student; but hidden in her lyrics is a more philosophical wave.
It’s most notable in the gentle hi-hat shuffle of the super-chill Vanilla, where she sings, “Go leave your family for a while/Come back, you’ll be a better child/If you don’t fall/You’ll never go higher.”
Golden Hour cranks up the groove with the bass-heavy, half-time lo-fi beat and deeper vocal delivery, showing a maturity in her songwriting skills, as does Morning, with the inclusion of flute and bongo adding extra dimensions to the warm acoustic guitar as she examines her own fragility: “What if people don’t like me?/ Their little voices in my head/ Wish you were here with me instead.”
Sorry I’m Latte shows Kelly really coming into her own as a writer, lyricist and singer; if she continues in this vein, whatever she comes out with next will certainly be worth the wait.