The front lady of Kodiak Island, Jo Bartlett (Go Service, Jo and Danny, The Yellow Moon) has been the sort of indie mainstay that the non .com blogs have consistently waxed lyrical about as the latest ‘overlooked sensation’ since WordPress was invented.
Essentially all things Bartlett are all things us thick-witted amateur journos consider cool and this release accentuates exactly why. Initially hers is a subdued talent. A track such as the opening Sugar Song (see below) sees her add a slightly breathless, pitch perfect vocal accompaniment to the sort of 90’s jangly indie/psych-pop aesthetics, that by their very nature are intrinsically and gloriously imperfect.
The contrast between the two gives both sides of the divide an alluring preeminence. It is a wonderful track that is immediately followed by And I Loved You that courts similar listener appreciation.
However, it is certainly not just such a beautiful contrast that makes The Kodiak Island sound embrace indie-chic. The programmed beats first seen in the opening two tracks are accentuated further in Sawdust and Glitter (see below) as the sound turns into a mass of intensely styled hookless sound collages that fit together like a janglier version of mid 2000’s band the Go Team! It all sounds immensely clever and despite my untrained ear, most probably is.
The final track will perhaps upset the purists as Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush) is given the KI treatment. I love this version, primarily because I had absolutely no idea that the track had actual words among the original wails of early 80’s desolation. OK, I jest somewhat, but in this version the lyrics breathe and a different, equally intense atmosphere, is developed via low end guitar-pop that grumbles with the all manner of life’s pains.
Another beautiful EP from the ‘fruit series’ (previous EP’s are named simply ‘The Orange’ and ‘The Lemon’) and one that makes the listener hanker for the immediate release of ‘ The Banana’.