Cumulus is the project of Seattle-based musician Alexandra Niedzialkowski. The band is one of the few acts — alongside Now, Now — to be signed to former Death Cab For Cutie member Chris Walla’s Trans- Records. The label put out the project’s debut album, I Never Meant It To Be Like This, back in 2013, and they’ll also be releasing its follow-up, which is due out later this year.
Today, however, Niedzialkowski is sharing a one-off called “Retreat,” a catchy song about consent and the invasion of personal space that turns such concepts into an undeniable hook. “If I don’t say yes, I’m asking you to leave/ When I say no, you better retreat, retreat, retreat,” she sings in its chiming chorus. There’s hints of the Crutchfields in Niedzialkowski’s flat-footed delivery there, and a whole lot of power-pop in the keys and whistles and asides that occupy the rest of the song.
“I wrote this song after leaving encounters with men and feeling exhausted and disappointed at the inability to communicate effectively what I needed,” Niedzialkowski told NPR, who premiered the song. She continued:
I started to think about the power of a song, how it can unite us in a feeling or remind us of the feelings we have forgotten. I wrote this song as an anthem to any listener, and to myself, that we are deserving of space and respect. I wrote it as a reminder to men, to listen as we speak, and you are not entitled to a woman’s space and time simply because of your physical proximity. I wrote this song because I needed it to exist, and perhaps if I needed it, then others did, too.
Listen to it below.
“Retreat” is out now via Trans- Records.