Reviewed by Mark Plummer
You may not have heard of her, but one of Montreal’s finest singer/songwriters is back with a new EP. After taking a couple years out, playing guitar for hardcore punk outfit Chix & Dix she’s back to her roots and whilst it’s been a while, there’s no rusty material in this five track, acoustic EP.
With lyrics that are not only well constructed, but self-reflective for all who take a moment to delve further than just the music, they transform It Is What It Is into a very much relatable release. She may exhibit a stripped back, KT Tunstall-esque approach, but there’s no worry that what is being heard is a carbon copy of the latter. This gives listeners enough realization that Kaye has done this for long enough and is smart enough to know how to put originality into a difficult business and most of all, enjoy what she’s doing.
Standing out first and foremost is the instrumentation that sits behind her soft and soothing vocal performance. Expanding herself with versatility and going beyond just the guitar, there’s an array of instruments including a washboard, ukelele and xylophone. These combine to give off an array of feelings from the country home of Nashville to the sun kissed beaches of Hawaii.
Motives and Moves is a little bit unusual due to the spoken-rap part that introduces itself after the half-way point of the song. It takes a couple of listens to get used to and may be the hardest song to win a listener over, but appreciating that Kaye is trying to do something different and has already successfully achieved this earlier on helps to ease the listener in.
Ultimately, whilst this release speaks of issues that everyone has come across, it’s light-hearted enough to keep the smiles going and the end result is uplifting as well as relaxing and easy on the ears.
4 out of 5