As the summer winds down and the air begins to cool, the days get a little shorter and the leaves change colors, so does what sounds goods coming out of the speakers. Luckily, there is a record for this season of change, and it’s called Cool Dry Place by Katy Kirby.
Kirby, as her bio states, ‘was born, raised, and homeschooled by two ex-cheerleaders in small-town Texas’ and grew up singing in evangelical churches. Reading that and pairing it with the light, brisk compositions are an absolute double take. On album opener “Eyelids,” a sparse, acoustic ballad with a few piano drones here and there feels almost meditative. It’s deceptive in the way that it feels like the album. “Juniper” feels like you’re joining a work in progress, full of lithe, bouncy guitars and a solo that feels like it’s flittering across the waves on a perfect day in September.
“Traffic!” feels kind of groovy. The track shimmies while Kirby lightly affects her voice with autotune. It’s a song about a relationship and her lyrics start to feel stacked like latticework. It’s so unique - replete with a fuzzy solo and then a blast of choir vocals out of nowhere. “High times, that’s right, red-white, black and blue/ Nobody has it better than you” will stick to you like salt-water taffy that’s a little too warm for the wax paper it’s in.
After that is “Tap Twice” a delicate ballad with barely-there instrumentation that builds to a gentle crescendo. “Portals” again feels like a vignette we’re lucky to be a part of, a slice of life recorded at night with the sounds of summer in the background. Strings gradually creep in and just as quickly, they fade out. It’s an astonishing atmosphere.
Simply, Cool Dry Place is an astonishing piece of work. It’s a record stacked with little hooks and memorable moments. What your ear catches is exciting because those moments never seem to truly linger too long. Every song reward constant relistening. So many musicians work hard to sound that spontaneous and fresh. Katy Kirby just knocked it out of the park on the first try.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media