Day Soul Exquisite, Sanguine & Cardamom


La fem Records, January 2024


Day Soul Exquisite: both band name and three words resonant with the sunny radiance that spills forth from their January 2024 release, Sanguine & Cardamom. Diversity is preeminent, with a batch of unique musical souls coming together to create a vibrant mélange of jazz, Caribbean, R&B, and punk grooves with social commentary that beams with queer/BIPOC joy. With two drummers, a cabal of multiple instrumentalists, and shimmering backing vocals traipsed across the stereo spectrum, Francesca Eluhu’s vocals take you by the hand into the kaleidoscopic lounge of your mind.

Sanguine & Cardamom’s opening track and 2023 autumnal single flows in and out of lush halftime grooves with phrase breaks that are pure rhapsodic soul. “Disentangle” builds to an anthemic climax following a saxophone solo by Xiomara Mills-DuPree full of florid runs and rapid articulations evocative of Afrobeat players moving in a disco context. The mantra of “Who I am and what I do is not up to you” is a surging affirmation of powerful queer identity and an invitation for dance floor expression.

“Sum of Our Parts” is a mid-album meditative respite where spoken reflections on identity, collectivity, and transformation rise from a murk of whispers and arpeggiated guitar chords like a lotus flower. More than a passing thought or momentary breather, this deeply moving poetic performance invites repeated listens for skillful contemplation. Throughout the EP, themes of queer warmth elide with social commentary on systemic oppression in an engagingly frank tone. Whether asking you to “…immerse me in fluidity of love’s divinity,” or telling you to “…keep your mother fucking hands to yourself,” Sanguine & Cardamom speaks of trauma and healing alongside true acceptance of one’s self.

Day Soul Exquisite’s ability to push their music in delightfully curious directions by borrowing obliquely from an array of styles is undoubtedly the result of engaged musical minds at work. The quasi-montuno approach coming into Lillian Minke Tahar’s keyboard solo on “Yonic,” the distortion-fueled guitar on “Mosaic,” and the punk/free jazz wailings of “Abattoir” are just a few examples of exotic flavors folded into this release. “Mosaic” is a microcosm of this approach to songwriting, starting with a loping, 12/8 ballad feel before a clever metric modulation slides the tune seamlessly into a driving groove with rap-like vocals and a fat-toned saxophone and guitar duet. Elsewhere, bassist Zora Seboulisa and percussionists, Josh Pehrson and Thomas Arndt mingle Latin grooves with four-on-the-floor disco feels under rhythmically sharp approaches to repetition and ephemeral backing vocals and synth sounds. The dripping richness of texture throughout this EP is akin to an extended serotonin release.

Releasing on Eluhu’s independent label, La fem Records, Sanguine & Cardamom is a neo-soul look at life through the eyes of six of Seattle’s most diverse creatives. Music and messaging are designed to hit the soul and stir one to action, both on the dance floor and socially.


Sanguine & Cardamom EP Release Party
w/ Special Guests La Fonda and Breaks & Swells

January 20, 9pm, Tickets $15 ADV/ $18 DOS
Clock-Out Lounge, 4864 Beacon Ave S



Posted on

December 29, 2023