Luna Li, the stage name of Hannah Bussere Kim, achieved notoriety in a unique way only possible in modern history - through her series of jams during the COVID-19 pandemic where she played instruments like guitar, violin, keyboard and harp. Years later, she has bridged her knowledge of these instruments and classical music training with a pop sensibility that informs her debut, Duality.
“Cherry Pit” starts off with the swirling build of indie rock guitars before sliding slickly into a fingerpicked breeze of a ballad, accented by Li’s harmonizing. It’s a breath of crisp fall air after emerging from the stale indoor of being inside too long. Towards the song’s end, the swirling guitars return like an oncoming storm. It’s a great thematic effect.
On “Born Again”, Li gets a little help from her friends - in this case, the easy, breezy vocals from Jay Som. The spots don’t stop there - “Flower (In Full Bloom)” features a verse from Dreamer Isioma and Beabadoobee shows up on the tempestuous “Silver Into Rain”.
There is so much to discover on this record, may it be the fuzzed-out “Alone But Not Lonely”, the similarly raucous “Star Stuff” the electric glide of “What You’re Thinking” that thrillingly turns into a grand orchestral sweep in the midst of the noise.
Duality is a bit of a misnomer - this album shows that Luna Li is capable of so much. It’s a wild, wicked ride that takes you down paths that you assume will take you one way but then diverges into one that is far more exciting than you could have imagined. With that sort of talent and vision, what else is possible for Luna Li? It’ll be a thrill to find that out.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media