Across the four tracks on Hello Dark World, the debut EP by Rue Delaney, we’re pulled into the neon nighttime of London and its layers of violence, sex and sadness, but also nostalgia, love and growth. The material began to take shape when Rue lost all sense of herself in a poisonous relationship. Identity crumbled and so did the many walls the ego constructs to protect itself. Rue was raw and the music flowed. Simultaneously, Rue found the courage to be honest with herself, regaining fragments of who she used to be. The next six months found Rue confronting the reality of her relationship, sifting through the hardest parts and reconstructing herself in the process.

Hello Dark World came to life in London’s Peckham / Finsbury Park neighborhood, written in collaboration with Josef Page, a producer who provided the space for Rue to let down her guard and bring her smoldering emotions into the studio. “I felt like Joey created an environment for me to express what was really going on behind the scenes. The world we made in the studio helped me remove myself from the immediacy of the pain and focus on a body of work that moved me forwards.”

This sense of catharsis is clear on lead single “Butterfly,” a wistful pop song stripped down to its essence - weeping guitar notes, a building bass line, and subtle drum parts. A good example of less is more when it comes to creating a backdrop for complex emotion to express itself. Single two, “That Girl,” is a conversation between Rue and her former self. A swirling guitar bed creates the space for Rue to address the person she refuses to become again. Guitars feature as one of the more prominent elements on the EP, about which Rue says: “Joey and I both love guitar pedals and making weird sounds and textures, chopping things up, almost using them like tape.” EP focus track and sleeper hit, “In Your Eyes I Die,” bubbles to life around a stylish bassline and vocals that float like cirrus clouds: elegant, unimposing.

Final song, “Rains All Day,” is an ode to the clear skies that inevitably appear on the other side of soaking rains. “Violence towards women, mental health, LGBTQ+ rights are top of the list when it comes to the issues I feel passionate about. The music came directly from how I was processing an extremely rough patch. It’s easy to be swallowed by those moments. To alchemize them into art and music was a savior for me, though I recognize not everybody has that ability. It’s why I always try to spread awareness of mental health wherever I can and make sure the people in my life know they can always turn to me.”