Over the last few years, Justin Phillips, better known by his alias Crywolf, has been steadily building a reputation for creating vast, complex, and emotionally powerful soundscapes. The type of music he writes, produces, and performs is best released in the form of a collection of pieces, such as an album or EP, so as to be experienced as a cohesive whole. His latest EP, Skeletons, is a testament to that.

For Crywolf, Skeletons represents the metaphorical negative space where something that should be there simply isn’t. As he puts it, “A harsh reminder of what once was; of an unchangeable breach in the order of things.” From the beginning of the first track, “Lemniscate,” Phillips’ stirring vocal layers and beautiful sound design portray an intimate vision of his inner workings, which, like all of the pieces on the EP, does not stop evolving.

As the EP progresses, new subtleties are added or subtracted, taking the listener through Phillips’ “7 stages” of life. The seven songs, although quite different from one another, all show a vulnerability that is rarely heard in the farthest reaches of the current music industry.

Maybe most artists are afraid to truly express themselves. However, just as this EP was a junction for Crywolf, it may serve as an example for artists to follow in the coming years. Phillips’ puts it best: “I decided I’d rather end my life pinned down, splayed out on a dissecting table than be stored away in formaldehyde, buried with my secrets.”

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