'Happy Face': Saintseneca's Caeleigh Featherstone makes solo debut as Mukiss with dreamy confessional record
Caeleigh Featherstone is set to make her debut as Mukiss with the release of her EP 'Happy Face', a hauntingly peaceful indie-rock record, on June 18. Featherstone first hit the music scene as a soloist with the single 'Bruise Blue' back in December 2019, which showcased her skills as both a songwriter as well as a vocalist. Prior to taking the first major step on her own, she was a member of the indie-rock band Saintseneca for three years and was last heard on their 2018 record 'Pillar of Na'. Featherstone also built a name for herself with her other musical projects and collaborations, including touring with indie/emo avant-garde act Foxing as well as The Sidekicks.
As part of Saintseneca, Featherstone contributed her own brand of music, particularly her haunting voice that helped bring a new color to the band's already-alternative indie-rock sound. 'Pillar of Na' was built on the concept of 'memories', detailing both the ability of a memory to hold fast and stay with you no matter how much time passes as well as its propensity to fade away with no warning, leaving behind only a hint of what once was.
The folk-punk record saw the band combining elements of alternative and soft rock with biblical and scientific thematic elements, specifically the Genesis story of Lot's wife and the chemical symbol for sodium, 'Na'. The former represents a yearning to revisit the past and look back on what has already transpired, even against one's own better judgment or warnings from others, while the latter is a reference to Lot's wife being turned to salt after ignoring God's warnings in addition to being a reference to 'nah', a passive refusal as well as a sometimes-nonsensical expression that stands for nothing. Essentially, 'Pillar of Na' was rooted in the idea of revisiting one's memories even if it meant one might suffer for it. Musically, the record saw the band experimenting with new sounds in an attempt to create folk music that was fresh and daring, thus creating a folk-punk-rock-indie album that found itself at the intersection of various styles.
For her first foray into solo work, Featherstone draws inspiration from her previous work while also managing to find her own voice. Dreamy songwriting blends effortlessly with evocative, soul-stirring vocals to produce five tracks that take bits of what we heard from Featherstone as part of Saintseneca and layers in her own brand of guitar-based indie rock blended with electronica and folk music, resulting in something that is both somber, atmospheric and commercial, with a bit of indie-pop seeping into the album's sound.
'Switzerland' is easily a standout in the album. You get that sense of nostalgia from this record as Featherstone muses about giving "anything just to be there", echoing the emotions heard on 'Pillar of Na'. But instead of simply being a repetition, 'Switzerland' demonstrates Featherstone's growth as an artist and sets the tone for her debut as Mukiss. In its entirety, 'Happy Face' is a confessional project that takes listeners on an emotional journey, detailing the yearning for 'home' as well as the hope of possibly finding it some day.
'Happy Face' will be available on all streaming services on June 18. Follow Mukiss on Instagram for more.