Monday, June 1, 2020
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Katie Kim: Salt

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Artist: Katie Kim
Title: Salt
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: self-released
This is forty minutes of deeply melancholic, downbeat misery ballads, mostly just a vocal and a piano with faint orchestral frills and a subtle and extremely restrained echo-chamber production. It’s very evocative of the epic rocky, windswept Western coast of Ireland.

Unfortunately, it also feels rather self-indulgent. Vocally it’s like a tuned series of regretful notes-to-self. Some lyrics are hard to distinguish and in parts it feels wilfully inaccessible, as though we’re not welcome to hear these private memories.

Although described as ‘dark’, ‘droning’ and ‘ambient’, it’s none of these things in any great measure- perhaps a little bit more of a journey into the experimental would’ve benefitted it. It is more like standard pop ballads, slowed down and spaced down to extremes.

“I Make Sparks” and “Life Or Living” are a little more driven and up-tempo by comparison, which considering “Life Or Living” runs at around 90 beats per minute, goes to show how measured and frankly slow the rest of the album is. “Thieves” is the track that most suggests there is innovative songwriting, maybe even pop music, underneath the heavily loaded surface, scratching to get out.

Despite Katie Kim being Irish, there’s a Scandinavian vocal tone reminiscent of Karin Dreijer Andersson but sadly lacking the energy or quirkiness.

It’s a very honest and consistent work, but, like dipping into a stranger’s private diary, it would be wrong to recommend it.