If Juana Molina and PJ Harvey collaborated with Gazelle Twin.
The review of Kee Avil – Crease
Quite often when reviewing avant-pop albums full of weird and wonderful angular sounds and noises I’ve wondered “what would this sound like coming from a grungier rock perspective?”. I have the answer. It’s Kee Avil’s debut album “Crease”. Merging together dark, deeply seething and taut atmosphere with detuned guitars and groaning vocals, this is a wild ride for the esoteric.
Tracks like “saf” and “Drying” are possibly the best way to enter into the world of Kee Avil. Both tracks have a base of synth and odd percussive clicks and bloops that evoke a Bjork or Matmos tiny sound explosion. They sound alien and Kee Avil’s haunted creepy soft groan as she sings stirs up the atmosphere and tension. The chord progressions have no problem taking a striking odd chord that is totally out of keeping with the rest too – a bit like a horror pang. However omnipresent is the guitar that forms its own body over the course of each song, It might start off like an atonal noodling but soon melodies and freewill to blaze will occur and the rock element turns up the heat. Yet, would I call it rock? No.
Tracks like “Melting Snow” have an inbuilt drama to them as they ricochet from percussive smash to smash boomeranging through clashing chord progressions. “And I” comes from the school of Lisa Germano and PJ Harvey b-sides that use the slow drip feed of haunted drone guitars to ratchet up the tension and horror. Then when the tempo or aggression changes, it takes your mind on a wild ride. “Okra Ooze” has an existential crisis as a psychedelic slowed down dance plays out like a hypnotist’s nightmare. “I too, busy” uses spooky piano trills to undermine the lyrical message of the track.
Kee Avil has a direct message running throughout the album. She wants us to let go of the daily grind machine. The lyrics ask us to let go of things and frames the need to keep catching up as a horror show. In many ways, I draw a parallel with Gazelle Twin, not just on vocal delivery but also on the theme. This is like a domestic news/tech/social horror show and I’m here for it.
“Crease” is an excellent album that holds a uniquely tense and abstract atmosphere. Give it your full attention and you’ll be transfixed in its dense but uncluttered gaze. My only minor quibble is that the last two tracks on the album are brief and fleeting, meaning the closure of the album doesn’t quite smash it home. That quibble aside, this is an excellent journey through abstract personal hell. Nothing is quite what it seems. The music goes out of its way to surprise you and catch you off guard. Kee Avil puts the excitement back into fear again.
Recommended track: saf
Support Higher Plain Music
Higher Plain Music is part of the Higher Plain Network – a one-man indie media project. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. In return, you’ll receive additional perks for supporting me, such as behind-the-scenes content and free downloads. You can also donate using PayPal. Sharing the website helps too or using the affiliate buy now links on reviews. I receive a few pence per Amazon sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. I’d love to make this a full-time media network and your support can make that happen. Thank you.