What’s always made Kaki King’s records interesting, particularly on …Until We Felt Red and Dreaming of Revenge, was how she managed to shape her unruly guitar playing into clear songs. Despite its amazing precision, her virtuoso playing feels like it fits only its own structures, like percussion and voice and other instrumentation couldn’t possibly keep up. On those albums, King’s approach was simply to outnumber the guitar.
On her fifth full-length, guitar heroine Kaki King re-teams with producer Malcolm Burn and employs a rhythm section that includes multi-instrumentalist Dan Brantigan and drummer Jordan Perlson. That said, this is no mere power trio recording with an uber-guitarist fronting bass and drums. Like 2008’s Dreaming of Revenge, Junior is a songwriter's record, layered in textures and moods, with Burn’s warm production and her band helping to guide a complex, searingly emotional vision.
True story: I had a friend in college who was the worst with women. I mean, just absolutely, mind-fuckingly terrible. It was as if this guy would go out of his way to shoot himself in the foot when it came to meeting ladies. In fact, to this day I can only remember him ever having what could be charitably referred to as a “girlfriend.” Really, she was more of a one-night-stand that he couldn't let go of.
Given her smoky, Suzanne Vega-esque vocals leading into the Belly-like burst that kicks off Kaki King's fifth LP, Junior, the six-string acrobat has traversed many a musical lifetime since debuting as a young twentysomething virtuoso crafting instrumental discs. Same goes for "Spit It Back in My Mouth," featuring the still-young Atlantan's candy-coated, multitracked singing as tied altogether by production medium Malcolm Burn. Finding her voice keeps King coming back sharper, more song and sound savvy, a commercially androgynous rockist back-and-forthing between guitar enchantment ("Everything Has an End, Even Sadness") and pop epics (five-minute album centerpiece "Falling Day").