Kelly Lee Owens
Lp.8


3.5
great

Review

by BlushfulHippocrene STAFF
May 3rd, 2022 | 20 replies


Release Date: 04/29/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Move body

On heavy industrial opener ‘Release’, Owens commands you to ‘move body’. The song’s one-tone intensity is uninviting but that’s beside the point. The song isn’t asking you to dance, it’s telling you to – with the firm resolve of a hand slapping a dead limb awake. Move body (or don’t) and are invited as reward into ‘Voice’, an atmosphere that is if not warmer then at least slightly less cold. The track retains the machine-like throb and pulse of ‘Release’ but eschews its watery, metronomic kick for a repetition of another kind, the vocal kind, a kind of ugly three-note melody which forms a part of its foundation. The song, which feels more like an interlude, is hypnotising in a way less coercive than its forceful predecessor, more psychedelic. It brings us one step closer to the beauty that characterises much of the rest of the album (Throbbing Gristle inspiration giving way to Enya).

The album’s third track ‘Anadlu’ is a slow-moving, eight-minute epic that is sweeping in its beauty. There’s some creepy rumbling in the beginning; after that though it’s all deep breath, susurration, chimes, whispery voice and swelling synths. From there, ‘S.O. (2)’ and ‘Olga’ reintroduce us to the beauty of Owens’ singing voice but not, mind, to the poppy, hooky elegance of Inner Song. For better or worse, the hooks are gone. Only unhurried, otherworldly vocal soars here. Much like the album itself, the two songs mark a fairly significant shift in sound. The ice has by this point well and truly melted. Its waters now puddle in a far corner of the empty dancefloor, crossing steams with the pool of tears wrung by ambient ‘Nana Piano’, a song that sounds exactly like you’d expect, birdsong and all.

Within a span of six songs, LP.8 has transmorphed itself from something heavy and dark into something light and intimate.

The first scene in the album’s final act, ‘Quickening’, with its high-pitched, even-spaced bell toll, is a moment of meditative clarity in which Owens reminds herself of the importance of art as a means of personal expression. Its second scene, penultimate ‘One’, aims at something transcendent, confidently blurring the line between art, the world, and the self. The two songs boast a dreaminess reminiscent of much of Kelly’s earlier work. All the more striking then when closer ‘Sonic 8' transports us right back to the alien machinery of ‘Release’ – a loud, staticky alarm tone of a song, filtered through the prism of nightmare. This time, however, instead of seeking to rouse our languid bodies into dance, Owens offers us a warning. It is (climate) anxiety as a song.

LP.8 feels, in many ways, like a detour. Where Inner Song, which married Owens’ tight tech-house production to a more straightforward pop song-writing, felt like a natural progression from her warm, if overly formal self-titled debut, the Welsh artist’s latest offering embodies an entirely different beast, as though it were plucked from some distant future. This is addressed by the album’s title, which pitches LP.8 as Owens’ eighth album as opposed to her third. This in turn addresses a not-uncommon criticism of Inner Song, which was that despite that album constituting some form of a progression from the previous one, it nevertheless fell short of any kind of an evolution for Owens. LP.8, by stark contrast, is nothing if not an evolution. And while it's hard not to succumb to the subtle disappointment inherent in hearing an artist you love make such a sudden shift in sound, beyond that initial disappointment is an album that is the artist’s maturest to date. An album that is, somehow, equal-parts icy and warm; which progresses, despite this contrast, with an ease that is masterful; and which, inevitably, leaves me curious and yearning for LPs 3-7.



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user ratings (27)
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2022


3950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Still don't know whether I like or love this album. Anyway, here's a track-by-track. I'm extremely rusty and as usual can never seem to get to the point, but hopefully this is okay enough.

Jasdevi087
May 3rd 2022


7091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i have lps 3-7 and i will never release them

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2022


49301 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

so far this is reminding me of Tentenko with better prod, and idk how to feel about this



"Move body (or don’t) and are invited as reward into ‘Voice’, "



this feels like it's missing a pronoun m'dude. otherwise lovely lucid puddles of melted cuteness as per

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2022


11437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

good rev!

> here's a track-by-track

tbh i wouldn't know how to analyse this album

Calc
May 3rd 2022


16929 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hard 3. I liked the last one way more

AmericanFlagAsh
May 3rd 2022


11596 Comments


I didn't even know this was coming out, but the last LP was excellent

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2022


3950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'this feels like it's missing a pronoun m'dude'

For sure -- I think written in full it should be like 'If you (do) move your body, you are invited as reward into 'Voice', or 'Move your body and be invited"...?; but I was hoping it would come across w/ just 'move body'. I'll see later what I can do to make it clearer. Cheers for pointing it out.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2022


3950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really loved the last album, too, and was surprised by the direction on this one. I like it as its own thing, though, and think it will bode well for any future music by her -- feels like she's really loosening up and bucking expectations.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
May 4th 2022


23482 Comments


Love seeing your reviews, will give this a proper looksee tomorrow (:

Why do I feel I’d like this?

Lord(e)Po)))ts
May 4th 2022


70163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This will be pretty good I’m sure

Jasdevi087
May 6th 2022


7091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty cool

markjamie
May 6th 2022


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really love the album after thinking I wouldn't when I heard the singles. I feel it would make a great soundtrack for a dystopian sci-fi movie; full of dread and menace but with an underlying hope and a call to action.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2022


28584 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I missed her second album but her debut was pretty good. Gonna give this a quick check. Lovely review master Blush.

Jasdevi087
May 9th 2022


7091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

her 2nd one's her best, go back and czech that shit

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2022


28584 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't tell me what to do Jas.



j/k yeah gonna do that dude, I don't know why i missed it on my 2020 run. Unforgivable.

Jasdevi087
May 9th 2022


7091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually should go back and relisten to her 1st album cause I can't even remember what it sounded like

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 13th 2022


70163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If Olga went somewhere it could have been incredible. It’s a shame Kelly forgot how to make music.

markjamie
June 13th 2022


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's not that sort of album - she will return to a more structured style with her next, but this is all about mood and atmosphere and it's amazing. I actually think it's her best so far.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 13th 2022


70163 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don’t really care what kind of album it is



I care about whether or not I enjoy listening to it



In this case? Ehhhh

markjamie
June 14th 2022


197 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It soundtracked my recent trip around Australia; 10000km of which was driving through remote outback, sometimes hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town, with a pervading feeling of menace, expanse, alien landscapes and beauty. I enjoyed every second while listening to this.

Can see why some are unsettled or unenthusiastic though; that's how feel when I'm subjected to Thom Yorke's self-indulgent mewling and whining which everyone else seems to appreciate but sounds to me like violin strings made of cat gut being played while the cat is still alive...



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