Blue Raspberry by Katy Kirby album review by Ben Lock for Northern Transmissions. The singer/songwriter's LP drops on January 26th via ANTI-


Blue Raspberry

Katy Kirby

From minute one, Blue Raspberry draws you into its intimate and fantastical minimalism and profound lyricism. Katy Kirby, originally from Spicewood, Texas, has carefully curated a stunning sophomore record. The intricate and mood-setting opener, “Redemption Arc,” is a harmonically dense and haunting first track. The piano-driven tune is accompanied by screeching strings and a beautifully sung vocal melody. Right off the bat, one of the first things I noticed is that this record has quite a different musical palate and tone compared to Kirby’s debut album, Cool Dry Place, with a lot more piano and slightly sparser production due to the collaboration with producers Alberto Sewald and Logan Chung.

The second track, “Fences,” has a uniquely folk-tinged sadness that is building off similar ideas from Kirby’s previous work. That being said, it’s still a banger track with a short run time of a minute and forty seconds. “Cubic Zirconia” is one of the more optimistic and high-energy songs on the album, reminiscent of modern chamber pop artists such as Weyes Blood and Leah Senior. The song is named after a type of fake crystal with the same appearance as a diamond. She references the stone multiple times throughout the tracklist, potentially alluding to themes of an inherent artificiality.

Even within the first few tracks of this album, there are lyrical narratives hinting at an overarching theme of newfound bisexuality and blossoming new love. “Hand to Hand” was almost a bit too mellow for my taste, instrumentally speaking. That being said, Kirby’s thoughtful lyrics and vocal harmonies made up for what this track lacked instrumentally. “Wait Listen” is undoubtedly my favourite song off this album. The tender and calming guitar-focused track is one of the prettiest and most emotionally guttural songs on the record and easily demonstrates Kirby at her best lyrically. The following track, “Drop Dead,” has a unique pop sensibility different from the other songs on the album as we move to the latter half of the project. It sounds almost as if Katy was writing in a very easygoing and stream-of-conscious kind of state, allowing her to describe her feelings and point of view intricately yet subtly. “Party of the Century” brings us to the middle half of the record with a gently strummed guitar track followed by cellos in the chorus and some of the most euphoric and tender set of lyrics on the whole damn record. It’s really good. “Alexandria” Is one of the most straightforward love song ballads on the record. The instruments evolve throughout the track in a romantic and grandiose fashion reminiscent of the popular band Boy Genius.

Moving forward, “Salt Crystal” is a slow and classically tinged song filled with vivid poetry and sparsely performed piano. Although I like the lyrics of this song, I do find that it is quite sleepy and slightly less inspired than the other tracks on the album. The song following “Salt Crystal” is the title track, Blue Raspberry, and the song I was the most excited for, not just because it’s the title track of the album but because when I saw Katy Kirby last year opening for Andy Shauf she played this song entirely acoustic and it was absolutely brilliant. I read that this song was the first song she wrote for the album, and it was written at the early stages of her newfound bisexuality. “Blue Raspberry” is Kirby’s successful attempt to write a classic country ballad with the perspective of being in love with a woman. I personally think this song wraps up the record perfectly, and it’s fascinating that it was the first song she wrote for the project. “Blue Raspberry” sounds like a classic John Prine-esque country ballad and a songwriter at their best. I won’t lie. This song is fucking sad, and honestly, so are the two before, so I was definitely relieved when the last song on this record, “Table,” was a slightly more uplifting track to add some dynamics to the end of the record. Overall, I think Katy Kirby has delivered an album as raw and as rooted in reality as a collection of love songs can get in 2024.

Pre-order Blue Raspberry by Katy Kirby HERE


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