Release Date: Nov 14, 2011
Record label: Great Crap Factory
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Because she’s so earnest and goofy, and sure, willing to embarrass herself on record, Kimya Dawson ranges from underrated to grossly misconstrued, by contemporary indie critics who claim to have outgrown twee. But her screeching antifolk realism that’s feminist by default is essential in a world where Animal Collective’s bro-y musings are considered concrete. Dawson’s 2002 effort I’m Sorry That Sometimes I’m Mean is the greatest record her post-Nuyorican culture’s ever seen, even overshadowing the Moldy Peaches’ sole collaboration because it’s more poignant to match up with the funny, meaning for every talking blues about a pull-string Jim Varney doll there was an ice-cold tragedy about an abusive social worker.
Pop’s original dirty anti-folk star (all hail The Moldy Peaches!) returns from the abyss of kids’ music (2008’s Alphabutt) to make raucous adult music filled with youthful whimsy, curt language and more alt-rock personalities than a Pearl Jam film premiere. John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats), Nikolai Fraiture (The Strokes), Aesop Rock and the Forever Young Senior Citizen Rock and Roll Choir aid and abet Dawson in the making of sweet anthems (“Walk Like Thunder”), brawlers (“Captain Lou”) and bawlers (“Reflections”). She never gets quite where she’s going, but it’s good to have her back.
For her seventh album, the former Moldy Peach opens up her sound with deeper backing tracks and contributions from Aesop Rock, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, and The Strokes’ Nikolai Fraiture. The addition of strings, piano, and an occasional hip-hop beat to her guitar and soft voice is an interesting change of pace, but the bolstered instrumentation doesn’t hide some of her weakest songwriting. Dawson’s greatest gifts are her lyrical wit and storytelling ability; the highlight of the record is the almost 10-minute-long “Walk Like Thunder,” a devastating and very personal chronicle of watching two close friends pass away at a young age.