K. Flay|Every Where Is Some Where
“My music,” says K. Flay’s Facebook bio, “is a version of indie hip hop, mixed with electronics, mixed with me headbanging. But I’m still figuring it out.”
Turns out, that’s not entirely true. Listen to the the LA-based singer-songwriter’s second album, and it’s clear she’s already got it all figured out. Her follow-up to 2014’s ‘Life As A Dog’ is lyrically powerful and musically ambitious. Against a backdrop that confidently fuses the alternative rock of Garbage and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the industrial pop of AWOLNATION and latter day Depeche Mode, and the hip-hop swagger of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, she tackles self-acceptance, personal insecurities, the reality TV star now in the White House, and issues of empowerment.
“I want more,” she repeats over the slow but purposeful beats of self-assured pep talk and album opener ‘Dreamer’, adding “the only thing to fear is never being scared”. On the unstoppable ‘Giver’, which is punctuated by synth effects and distorted vocals, it’s “I’m trying to be better” – but hers is an ambition that comes without compromise. “I will not let go of what is mine,” she promises with a directness typical of an album that’s full of lines that just refuse to be ignored.
“I pretend to be OK so my friends can’t see my heart in the blender,” Flay admits on the marching ‘Blood In The Cut’; “I’m looking for something to make me feel nothing,” pleads supercharged rap ‘Champagne’; “I’m going to hold onto the innocence I’ve got,” declares the fist-pumping battle cry ‘It’s Just A Lot’; “Don’t trust a poet because they can’t do the math,” advises ‘You Felt Right’.
Just as arresting as these lyrics is the music, produced by the likes of Ladyhawke collaborator Tommy English and Mike Elizondo, who’s worked with everyone from Dr. Dre to metal titans Mastodon.
So the irresistibly catchy political commentary ‘The President Has A Sex Tape’ grows from little more than a menacing Kim Deal bassline to an all-out rock guitar and drums onslaught, while ‘Mean It’ relies on little more than a strummed electric guitar, sparse beats, and a beautiful vocal melody. ‘Hollywood Forever’ builds up steadily, finally exploding into a Hole-style rocker. And epic album closer ‘Slow March’ just won’t be pinned down, bravely transforming from shimmering synthpop confection to strutting rap interlude to piano ballad to Imagine Dragons party anthem.
“Instead of being afraid i’m going to try to be brave, instead of feeling regret I’m going to focus on getting better tomorrow, and instead of hoping that someone else will say it or move it or mean it, I’m going to do it myself,” K. Flay wrote of ‘Every Where Is Some Where’.
She’s done exactly that.