Madeline Kenney

Perfect Shapes

Carpark

Oct 11, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Hot on the heels of last year's Night Night at the First Landing, Oakland, CA native Madeline Kenney returns with a kinder, gentler, and more eclectic collection of songs she calls Perfect Shapes.

As with Night Night, what immediately commands attention is Kenney's voice, jumping from the speakers with breathy intonations and captivating, multi-textured melodies. Her radiant coo necessitates comparisons to other elite singers in this genre like Natasha Kahn (Bat For Lashes) and Björk. But instead of the fuzzy, guitar-based music on the first album, Perfect Shapes is more fragile as Kenney explores a more varied musical landscape.

Produced by Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, the 10 tracks ebb and flow with diverse musical ideas and unconventional intentions. An underbelly of guitars, keyboards, and electronics is mixed with upbeat and curious rhythms, shifting around the animated vocals forming songs that are peculiar, rhapsodic, and intellectually stimulating. While Night Night's pop sensibilities were more immediately stimulating, it takes a while for the melodies of Perfect Shapes to permeate through a more diffuse and narcotic ambience.

The hazy background layers are peeled away with each listen to reveal some emotively surreal and grand melodies that are entertaining, and at times compelling, but somehow are void of any hooks that make them memorable. Tracks such as "No Weekend," "Know," and opener "Overhead" are perfect examples. All three are beautifully arranged and strikingly entertaining but don't leave a trace in the listener's head.

It's not all eerily cool and eclectically vibrant however. The album's weaker moments come in the form of more nebulous song structures with attempts at playful touches that seem out of place. Even Kenney's haunting voice can't keep these couple of weak tunes afloat.

Some patience and repeated plays may be needed to digest all of the aesthetics offered on Perfect Shapes, but with amiable melodies in a variety of tempos and moods it is a likable record that is enjoyable to listen to but one that may or may not stand the test of time. (www.perfectshapes.club)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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