Kalbells: Max Heart (NNA Tapes, 2021)

April 4, 2021 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kalbells: Max Heart

Rubblebucket’s Kalmia Traver returns as Kalbells, following an intriguing 2017 debut album and an EP from last year. The project has expanded with the addition of Angelica Bess (of Body Language and NNA Tapes-signed Erica Eso, and guest vocalist with Chrome Sparks, Giraffage, and others), Sarah Pedinotti, and drummer Zoë Brecher, plus a host of guest artists, including Luke Temple and rapper Miss Eaves (on “Pickles”). The group’s sound is sleek, a bit trippy, a bit wobbly, and even celebratory, with all of these characteristics coming together on tracks like “Hump the Beach”. These are all compact pop songs, but they squirm in several different directions during their three or four minutes, with surreal lyrics and obtuse melodies which all make their own sort of sense in the end. “Max Heart” sums up the album well, with a spoken narration of a dream-like scene, followed by a break of la-la’ed vocals and a twinkling piano solo, all over a slow, woozy, carefree rhythm.

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