Katie Kate can literally do it all. Her self-produced sophomore album has so many different styles that it will have you wondering if you are still listening to the same artist or if your iTunes accidentally shuffled to something else.
The Seattle rapper/singer/producer’s top three influences are Weezer, Elliott Smith, and Atmosphere. She tells listeners that they helped her learn to structure music, write lyrics, and rap her feelings.
In the first song of the album “The Visions” she spits out lyrics to fast moving synth chords, but in “Rushmore” she raps “I am a mountain face, with a tree line / You want to cross me, I got tall pines,” and follows it by singing a sweet chorus: “I am set in stone/I am Rushmore,” all to a sparse drum line, not adding more sounds till halfway through the song. The sharp rap and melodic chorus is her way of delivering the message “I can’t help but be who I am, how I am.”
I absolutely love “Drift”: moody and low-toned raps with a retro melody and trippy hook, making a great cruising (or drifting) song. The track “Sadie Hawkins” was released as a single before the album, and sticks out of the album with its fresh but poppy beat and vocals. Her creative use of instruments and mixed vocals reminds me of St. Vincent. The best thing about this song is the sweet lyrics “I’m going to Sadie Hawkins you/ You won’t even know what to do.” I don’t think it’s possible to dislike this song.The album finishes with “Razorblade Fences”, a mix of echoing vocals and snippets of rap to a fun steel drum beat.
The varying and well-placed sounds of this album make it an interesting listen that doesn’t ever get boring or heavy, and showcases Katie’s talent to not only make music, but also to market herself.
Recommended if you like: K. Flay, Santigold, and Uffie
Recommended tracks: “Rushmore,” “Drift,” and “Sadie Hawkins”
Reviewed by Margaret Jacobs on October 16, 2014