reviewed by Chris Matei
Sentiments, the first non-demo release from Montreal’s Kaitlyn Daley a.k.a Still Kicking, raises an interesting question or two about medium being the, or not necessarily being, message.
The album is a short series of Parisian sketches seen through a cracked and faded filter, each hitting the bull’s-eye of what any producer would term “lo-fi” or “bedroom recording” solely to soften the rough edges around the songs’ barest of sonic bones. Daley’s vocals drift and waver, sometimes almost tunelessly, but atmospherically and with moody gravitas. The addition of electric guitar on “Staying” is a move in the right direction.
This kind of doomy, strung-out, amorphous pseudo-pop brings to mind the types of crusted-over and scrawled out tape demos Kurt Cobain was putting together as a young artist in his home recording phase: pop ballad sentimentality, raw nerves and slow-baked apathy exposed in equal measure directly to magnetic tape that felt like it was threatening to break with every wind around the capstans. The rough-hewn, chamber-spattered vocals, plaintive strumming and faded out drums on Sentiments make a stylistic statement that is almost as important to interpreting the album as the songwriting itself (largely centered on themes of distance and longing.)
And so the question: is the fact that a record is staunchly lo-fidelity in its construction, with all the connotations and bits of meaning that term carries or inflects, as important to its message as the quality of the songs or even of the performances or the lyrics on that record?Sentiments is the kind of EP that probably won’t break into a ton of people’s rotations, but it helps us ask these kinds of questions, and for that it’s worth a listen.
Top Track: “Staying”
Rating: Young Hoot (Decent)