Cool Dry Place by Katy Kirby album review by Katie Tymochenko for Northern Transmissions

Keeled Scales (Secretly Distribution)

8

Katy Kirby

Cool Dry Place

With the release of her debut album Cool Dry Place, Texas-based songwriter Katy Kirby has taken a young life full of experience and has showcased it to the world on nine songs about love, friendship and adventure. Her simplistic approach to songwriting follows no rules and has allowed her to set forth a body of work that is unique yet relatable to the average 20-something experience.

From the beginning, Kirby sets the tone for the album by displaying her sense of vulnerability on the opening track “Eyelids.” The simple yet somber number gives listeners an inside look into Kirby’s psyche and presents listeners with an ambiguous narrative going forward. “Eyelids” wasn’t recored like the rest of the album and gives off the illusion that Kirby might have recorded this song alone and possibly at a home studio. While it lacks complexity, it allows listeners to connect with the songwriting process. Sonically “Eyelids” is a big shift from the rest of the album, but the contrast works for such a diverse body of work.

Kirby’s melancholic approach for track one is rightfully switched up for the rest of the album, beginning with “Juniper.” Between the signature indie guitar riff, the light hearted vocals and some upbeat harmonies, this song deserves to be included on every coming of age movie soundtrack. A similar sonic enthusiasm can be heard on “Peppermint,” where Kirby’s wispy vocals take on lyrical questions about friendships and relationships.

Midway through the album Kirby delivers a moment of peace and serenity on “Portals.” Supported by nothing more than a piano and subtle hints of chimes throughout the background, “Portals” seems to be a brief moment of clarity for Kirby. With the rest of the album questioning various moments of her life thus far, it is on “Portals” where she seems confident and sure of herself. The contrast between her vulnerability and self-assured realizations on “Portals” makes for an instant connection between Kirby and her listeners.

The album’s title track “Cool Dry Place” is by far Kirby’s most adventurous endeavour and leaves a lasting impression on listeners with it’s dramatic and ambient conclusion. The song’s folk rock inspired guitars have a groovy feel to them and continue to build up until the song’s chaotic conclusion. Her direct lyrics and hopeful tone make the song an album highlight.

The biggest takeaway from this album regards the presumed notions fans have towards album narratives. Katy Kirby has proved on Cool Dry Place that an album doesn’t need to have an over-arching theme or linear storyline. The nine songs on this album were written over an extensive period of time and came from a songwriter going through one of the most transient times in a young adult’s life. How somebody feels one day completely changes the next and this album is a reflection of just that. Cool Dry Place delivers a package of emotions waiting to be untangled by each individual listener.

Pre-order Cool Dry Place by Katie Kirby HERE