yeule is a Singaporean songwriter and producer known for their blend of glitch-pop, ambient electronics, drone, and Asian post-pop—an eclectic melange of sounds that conjures an overall feeling of ethereality while paying homage to their favorite video game, Final Fantasy X, which inspired their stage name. On softscars, however, yeule diverges from the predominantly gitchy stylings of their previous release, 2022’s Glitch Princess, and explores more guitar-based melodies consisting of heavenly sounding sus chords, bringing to mind contemporaries like Soccer Mommy, Momma, and Softcult. Although yeule doesn’t completely separate from their glitch-pop roots with this LP, melancholic guitar riffs are now the new main character.
yeule’s glitch-pop era feels oddly conventional when compared to their latest shoegaze-infused endeavor. softscars seems so unconventional because it integrates disparate genres like jazz and electronic music while still managing to work cohesively—“fish in the pool,” a pleasantly soft piano-jazz piece landing mid-album, doesn’t quite feel at home here, yet still fits. Then there’s the brief moment of vintage yeule on the glitch-inspired “inferno,” which also deviates from the norm without drawing attention to itself. Instead, this tension between shoegaze and other incompatible genres is pleasantly euphonious.
Ultimately, yeule’s work resists clear categorization because they like experimenting with the structures of both music and language. At best, you can call yeule’s lyrics impressionistic—images of love and loss, body horror and cyborgs are all used to communicate some unutterable catharsis. yeule also likes placing two concepts in total opposition with the results creating Cronenbergian mental imagery: “Cyber meat / Android blood tastes oh so sweet,” they sing at one point.
At its most conventional, softscars is about heartbreak. But the record’s at its best when it diverges from that convention and explores love and loss beyond binary gender (“She is him and her is me,” they sing on “4ui12”). It’s transgressive yet vulnerable and brimming with possibility. In a way, softscars breaks free from the mold while still being fully grounded, a tightrope act that yeule runs effortlessly.