Like most 19-year-olds, Grace Shaw, better known by her moniker Mallrat, is in the midst of figuring out who she is exactly and how this person came to be -- a process filled with growing pains that manifest themselves in her music. One thing is clear: As she matures, so does her sound and image.
While her 2016 Uninvited EP showcased an upbeat and uninhibited foray into pop -- from the bouncy tracks, to the optimistic lyricism, to the quirky and vibrant videos -- this year’s In the Sky EP paints a more complicated picture. Evident not only in the songs, which noticeably slow things down and give listeners a deeper look into the personal life of Shaw, but also in the visuals.
The accompanying video to “UFO,” her moodiest release to date, places Shaw in a muted wasteland. She is usually alone, save for a few scenes in the latter half where she is beside featured artist Allday, moving between a deserted school, a tennis court and a dark field. Aesthetically, the “UFO” video is almost exactly the same as the December release “Better,” which also switches between clips of the singer alone in a few different settings. But while “Better” depicts a daydream-like world -- one where Shaw can dance around sunflower-filled fields on a sunny day, singing into a microphone beside a horse -- “UFO” is a look into a much darker part of the teen psyche, playing into the feelings that emerge from not belonging.