During her tenure as the lead guitarist and vocalist of Daughter Elena Tonra crafted some absolutely gut-wrenching break-up songs. She’s back on her bullshit, this time as a solo act under the moniker Ex:Re (pronounced ex-ray).

"Romance," much like the rest of the self-titled debut record, details the dissolution of a relationship in raw and unflinching terms. As the first single off the album, it acts as a trailer for the deeply personal and cathartic work.

In regards to the project, Torna had this to say:

“Although the record is written for someone, a lot of the time it’s about the space without that person in it. In every scenario, there’s either the person in memory or the noticeable absence of that person in the present moment. I suppose it is a break-up record, however I do not talk about the relationship at all, and he hardly features in the scenes. He is only felt as a ghostly presence.”

She chose the moniker Ex:Re to mean ‘regarding ex’ and also ‘X-Ray’ as a way to look inside and see what is really there. And while “Romance” does list some grievances about her former lover, she is unafraid to turn her keenly examining eye upon herself, singing, “I grew up too quick and I still forgive too slow.”

A low electronic hum that recalls “The District Sleeps Alone” moves things along and sparse piano chords create the soundscape for Torna to apply her tenderly broken vocals to. Like the best of her music, “Romance” acts as a sonic rain cloud, making everything around you feel gray and damp. The song evokes a sense of sorrow and gloom that is palpable.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call this song weaponized depression (see: Baker, Julien) but it really ought to come with a trigger warning or something.

That’s not to say that it’s a bad song by any stretch of the imagination, on the contrary it’s fantastic.

Sad things can be good too.



If you’re in a hurry, there’s an edit of the song that’s more than two minutes shorter.

Ex:Re came out at the very end of last month via the good folks at 4AD. Originally slated for a February release, the record ended up being released several months earlier, which is fitting given its sense of urgency.

Torna played a show in London to celebrate the release, but as of writing, no further dates have been announced.

You should still listen to the album anyways.


Calvin Paradise is not any one thing. The half-hearted vagabond and forgetful luddite currently resides in Los Angeles and how he spends his time is none of your damned business.