I dream of living in a large home, ideally with three stories, that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the street. Transported from a different era, the outside architecture is just the beginning of its quirks. Inside, lies plenty of small nooks and crannies that hold odd artifacts and books. Ever visitor who dares to explore the house will stumble upon something new and interesting.
This dream, which upon reading, sounds an awful lot like the home that holds the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis’ fantastical The Chronicles of Narnia, is brought to song in Alexia Avina’s debut EP, Kind Forest. In hushed tones, lo-fi creaks, and slightly glitchy experimental beats, the Montreal-based musician pairs gentle curiosity with the comforts that can be found at home.
The opener, “(bored) Summer” matches the melancholic restlessness of summer with the sweet summer heat. The most appealing of the four songs, the melody really lets the song shine. Until the rain takes over, that is. The following song “Rain + Boy” is instrumentally heavy, minus a few “oohs,” and prominently features the sounds of the rain maker you probably got to play with in elementary school music class. This touch adds to the childish curiosity mentioned early.
In another instrumental song, “Walk Home” sounds like a less polished Sufjan Stevens creation a la “Alanson, Crooked River” from his Greetings From Michigan record. A second space to pause, Avina clearly shows her talents to create interesting soundscapes.
As its name would suggest, “Bedrooms” has a lulling quality to it. As the longest song from the EP, “Bedrooms” is also the most complex. Around the two and a half minute mark, the plucked string melody that makes up the bulk of the song blends is accompanied by an electronic beat and a layered vocal effect. In the final two minutes, Avina entrances you by repeating the, contrasting line, “didn’t sleep though” and some sweet “oohs” for a gorgeous closing song.
Come home to the sounds of Kind Forest EP.
Top Track: “Bedrooms”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)