Hemlocke Springs explains her creative process as a haphazard exercise with only three steps: collapse into neurosis, keyboard smash on your preferred DAW, and spill your guts. It’s a characteristically insular approach for a young bedroom pop songwriter, but Springs winds up with something more eccentric than her peers. Her music is kitschy and yearning, drawing from 1980s synth-pop and 2010s alt-pop alike, delivered with the anguish of a 19th-century woman being sent out to sea. The 24-year-old artist, born Isimeme “Naomi” Udu, found an audience after uploading her music to Soundcloud and later TikTok while she was completing a master’s degree at Dartmouth. On her debut EP Going…Going…Gone!, she fleshes out her sound, highlighting a promising young artist in the age of internet virality.
Every song on Going…Going…Gone! can be imagined in a different scene of an ’80s rom-com. Springs captures that era’s endearing cheese with bright tones and singalong hooks, wearing her influences—Depeche Mode, Prince, and Tears For Fears—on her sleeve. At the same time, her music also hearkens back to the pixelated laptop experiments of an artist like Grimes. She presents herself as the unlucky heroine pining for love and then hating herself when she can’t find it, emphasizing her agony with vocal melodrama. She yelps, croons, and growls on tracks like “girlfriend” and “the train to nowhere,” blending the most theatrical moments of several decades of pop icons into the EP’s brief runtime.
Springs’ lyrics make her sound like a cursed Victorian ghost, doomed to live in heartbreak for all of eternity: “I need your attention/In this frail dimension of a brain,” she pleads on “gimme all ur luv.” “enknee1” has verses posed as racing thoughts, synthesizing embarrassment, dejection, and naivety all at once: “But I have made a mistake, it’s such a shame, I don’t think you’re into my kind,” she sings as she grapples with feeling inherently incapable of love. Later, the song explodes into half-time fantasia that could fit right into SPELLING’s The Turning Wheel. The EP scratches that nostalgic itch for a time when everything feels bigger, scarier, and more complicated than it actually is, so you let it out because it’s the only way to feel better.
The last three tracks of the EP were written in quick succession after Springs visited Los Angeles, and at times, that hastiness is evident. On “pos,” she is at her most mercurial, too preoccupied with self-destruction to realize she’s destroying a relationship. The skeletal, cowbell-embellished production struts forward; her voice goes from raspy to shrill, and then she trills her lips. It’s exciting to see her push her weirdness, but the lyrics can make you scratch your head: “We should take an Andrew Jackson with tact and check in the movies at two.” But messiness is part of the journey, and Going…Going…Gone! is zany enough to feel unique and relatable enough to make you want to scream along at the sky.