Album Reviews: Peach Kelli Pop, Theresa Wayman and more
Peach Kelli Pop- Gentle Leader (Ottawa/Los Angeles)
Given how brief Peach Kelli Pop's last EP was, it was genuinely shocking how much of a sonic push forward she made. This pays off in parts on their latest LP, where they mix a much more dynamic exploration of sound with a lot of what you expect. The hilariously titled "Hello Kitty Knife" revamps Allie Hanlon's writing with more grimy distortion and riffs, all focused into a fast and to-the-point pop track. This energy is pushed even further on "Black Magic" where guitars never seem to stop and their catchy writing hits its peak. They strip a lot away while playing with the ambiance on "Parasomnia," for a track that is as welcoming as it is worrying. Hanlon completely shifts gears however on "King Size" for a ferocious pop sound that is infectiously accessible.
Plant Legs – Plant Matter (Ottawa)
Finding hungry artists that can make something as ambitious as it is fleshed out isn't common enough. For the latest from Plant Legs, the band colours a heavy album with clever instrumentation and earnest stories. As the shower noise fades out on "Violet" a dreamy shoegaze energy overtakes the song for a downbeat mix of loops and pensive lyricism. As samples bounce around the strange sound-mix of "Outset" the track's meandering hooks slowly come together for a meditation on growing up. As the dark and menacing energy slowly builds to a head on "Bad Fortune" the subdued vocals reveal that not every look forward is positive. Though "Sunny D" feels sombre and downbeat, it's rather the point in its trudge through what happens after your source of happiness has left you behind.
TT – LoveLaws (Los Angeles)
After years of genre defying music in Warpaint, each member has been trickling out solo content and now guitarist/vocalist Theresa Wayman is bringing her voice to the table. Bringing her usual hip hop and psychedelic harmonies, with a much looser writing style, Wayman's album shows an experimental edge that she's never shown so bluntly in the band. A smoky atmosphere takes over on "Myyki" making the usually pumping hip hop beats menacing, and giving room for Wayman to tear her vocals from siren calls into an attack. She lets her guitars breathe for some time on "I've Been Fine" but cleverly ramps up the tension for a drop so satisfying you'll be replaying it quickly. Wayman also subverts expectations with the sharp beat of "The Dream," as she uses the sonic contrast to really play around with themes of good and evil. "Dram" comes as the most vicious listen of the album as Wayman syncopates her vocals while simultaneously embracing the hectic depths of her production.
Claude Munson – The Silence Came After (Ottawa)
Like a cold indie band mixed with Bedouin Soundclash and a storybook instrumentation, Claude Munson's new album has a sound you can't totally place. Through sunny riffs and magical swirl of synths, Munson belts out about loss on "The Silence Came After" as his heartbreak echoes into the sparse arrangements. With a much steadier stomp, "Madness" shows Munson trying to come to terms with people he doesn't understand for a track that speaks to everyone's frustrations while feeling uplifting. A weird jazz-pop kicks out in the lo-fi luster of "Broken Stairs" as Munson's sharp production is amped by a fiery dance spirit. He hits an epic high on "Truth Be Told" as a folk spirit is amped up by his massive sound palette.
Michael Rault – It's A New Day Tonight (Toronto)
It's wonderful with the current wealth of artists diving back through retro pop sounds, that many are saying something new with the aesthetics. On his wonderfully crafted new record, Michael Rault taps into the spirit of the 70s to create a record that feels lost from an era rather than stealing from it. The immediate climb that starts "I'll Be There' sets the pace for the album, as addictive riffs and beautiful tones are given a youthful kick. "New Day Tonight" plays a much more open sound for Rault's focused sound-work to be highlighted instrument to instruemnt while riffs never seem to stop. Rault is deceptively chipper in the melody barrage of "Oh, Clever Boy" where he manages to make fast and exciting pop with lavish amounts of detail. "Sitting Still" takes a much slower approach and lets rhythm drive his loose writing on a track that will give Led Zeppelin fans something to talk about.