Elle Archer’s project Shaylee is the result of great persistence and triumph – a musical reckoning that nonetheless dips its toe into pools of swirling darkness as it fights to see the light. Forthcoming album Short-Sighted Security is most often Archer’s way of hugging her knees to her chest as she processes all the months previous have wrought: COVID isolation; addiction; a lost job; a failed polyamorous relationship and its aftermath; the search for physical connection; aging, trauma, and the dissolution of mental health.
“That’s what the record is – just an enormous reaction to traumatic events happening to me in real-time,” says Archer, who recorded and produced the album in its entirety at home, partially as a way to stave off isolation and partially as a way to drown out the sound of her two former girlfriends hooking up upstairs.
The interplay of silence and noise on Short-Sighted Security is tonally massive, and Archer uses it to Shaylee’s advantage, stringing together a self-aware, paranoid entity that’s darker than anything she’s released in the past. 2020 was set to be Shaylee’s big, breakout year, and the immediate and conclusive cancellation of any immediate success led Archer down a different path than expected – a path that forced her to relive buried trauma and attempt to come to terms with herself through a period of intense difficulty.