reviewed by Anna Alger
The Lumsden, Saskatchewan born shapeshifter known as Mocky continues to diversify his storytelling with the part instrumental, orchestral, acoustic, and catchy vocal-led songs of Key Change. There are songs in the realm of jazz here too, just going to show the limitless and indefinable nature of Mocky’s myriad talents. Having worked with artists such as Jamie Lidell and Feist, living in cities from Berlin to Los Angeles, his current homebase, Mocky brings a wealth of creativity and experience to each new project.
“Upbeat Thing” starts off the record, with its layering of a bright flute melody, chunky percussion, and grounding piano. A curious, jazzy tone is set within the first few seconds of the following song, “When Paulie Gets Mad.” Delicate strings weave together the variety of instrumental sections within the piece, giving it a laid back air. Mocky kicks things into high gear with the shuffling drums and strong bass of the aptly named, “Soulful Beat.” A jam that is just structured enough to flow yet be self-contained, the track is a feel-good instrumental number, full of playful melodies and ornamentation. Evocative and featuring graceful harmonies, “Weather Any Storm” is a heartfelt tribute to a relationship’s strength.
“Living in the Snow” is driven by a thumping bass line, wondrous strings, and soft vocal musings. Rooted in pop, the song’s simplicity is key to its immediate likability. “Time Inflation (Message to R2)” bounces along to a tight rhythm section, but is not without its moments of free jamming. The sweet melancholy of “Tomorrow Maker” is made by introspective keys, defeated bass, and forlorn vocals. As the rhythm section regains vigour in the song’s bridge, angst is communicated in a more textured, danceable way.
Through his history leading up to the making of Key Change alone, it is apparent that Mocky is able to thrive in many different places and parts of the musical landscape. This album shows the melding of Mocky’s experiences in order to create a wonderfully spirited, eclectic record – equal parts funky and delicately soaring melodies.
Key Change is available on June 30th via Heavy Sheet.
Top Track: “Tomorrow Maker,” “Living in the Snow”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good) + *swoop*