ALBUM REVIEW: Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8

7/10

Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8
Music fans missed out on seeing Kelly Lee Owen's previous album, "Inner Song", live in 2020. Her track, "Melt", is the festival anthem that never came to be. Not being able to tour the album did not damage the record's success, or stop Lee Owens rising as an artist. She composed the official anthem for the Women’s World Cup 2023 ‘Unity’, which was released last year, and during a month in Oslo following the tour's cancellation she recorded her new album, "LP8". 

Recorded with Lasse Marhaug (known for working with - Merzbow, Sunn O))) and Jenny Hval), and Lee Owen’s ambition to create something to blend her influences; Throbbing Gristle and Enya. ‘Inner Song’ gave you the soundtrack for the ultimate night on the dance floor, ‘LP.8’ bridges the hours between leaving the dancefloor and arriving home, chaperoned by the rising sun. It’s as dark and heavy as it is warm, soothing, and cosmic. 

The first single and album announcement was with ‘Sonic 8’, which is also the album closer. It brings the heaviest punches, clear vocals, sobering words - tackling the serious topics of the world right now. ‘Quickening’ also offers a spoken word, with more darkened sounds and experiment reverberation. While the echoing vocals resonate with the softness of Kate Bush or FKA Twigs. Similarly, the opening tracks, ‘Release’ and ‘Voice’, entrancing the listener to get lost in the music, heavy pounding connecting with your body.

‘Anadlu’ bridges the two sounds together, starting strong and mellowing out. It hosts bells and heavy echoing percussion while the vocals are not quite a chant, not quite a spell, but almost prayer-like. One of the calmest moments of the album, its New Age elements once again allow you to connect with your body. All of these can be applied to ‘S.O (2)’ with rich Celticism present throughout and vocals so soothing they are almost a kiss on the forehead.

Lee Owen’s vocals are as just as important as the music, with emotions running deep. Given the circumstances of where this record was made, it’s made all the more poignant.  All of my failed attempts as a musician spiralled from my first encounters with a piano at my grandmother's house, so personally, the softness of ‘Nana Piano’, which to me is the sweetest moment of the album, is simple and pure, is also the acoustic track on ‘LP.8’. 

The record is one of two halves, from the mystic bells and soft words to the pounding reverb and darker moods. Taking you on a spiritual journey and offering you the best of both worlds. I like to make a lot of comparisons to influences and sounds in my writing, but here, I can’t put it better than Lee Owens herself; it really is a record born of someone who has been inspired and shows adoration for both, Throbbing Gristle and Enya. 

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