23/08/2016 – K.Flay-Blood in the Cut (2016)
K.Flay unveils the EP she’s always hinted at!
Kristine Flaherty AKA K.Flay has been on my musical radar ever since I first heard her remix of Gucci Gucci in 2011. While that song was decent, Flaherty’s remix was something else. Even before I’d finished listening to it, I’d googled and was buying and downloading everything she had released. After that fateful day when two stranger’s futures were intertwined, I’ve been a loyal fan. When Flay released the Eyes Shut EP through Sony I was convinced this was Day 0. Sadly, like the album she recorded, nothing came of it and she remained in the shadows while lesser musicians got bigger. Since Eyes Shut Flay has released a slew of singles, a youtube book club, EP’s and her debut album, Life as a Dog. They all showcased her deft touch at production and razor sharp lyrics, but they were missing something. The inventive zeal of Eyes Shut wasn’t quite there, that is until now, until Crush Me.
Crush Me consists of four tracks that range from a straight up garage rock banger to a tender and sentimental ballad. But the most remarkable thing is that they all flow together than carry a loose story arc. The EP opens with Blood in the Cut. This is the most aggressive, and catchy, track on the EP. Loosley it’s about being single and angry. Musically this is summed up by sounding like a mixture of the Dead Weather, Nick Cave and Trentemøller. The lyrics however are the star of the show. Flay’s drawly delivery, coupled with nuggets like “Met back up with the boy I love, Cried on the streets of San Francisco, I don’t have an agenda, All I do is pretend to be ok so my friends, Can’t see my heart in the blender”, “Lately, I’ve been killing all my time, Reading through your messages my favorite way to die, Take my head and kick it in, Break some bread for all my sins”, and the chorus of “It’s too quiet in this room, I need noise, I need the buzz of a sub, Need the crack of a whip, Need some blood in the cut” eloquently sum this up perfectly. This is Flay at her best!
Hollywood Forever is up next. This time Flay explains her fears and anxieties. Again the lyrics are the star of the show. Opening line “I’m hiding from mirrors, I’m frightened of sex, Despising my image, I’m enlightened and slightly obsessed” feels slightly beatific. “I used to be so confident, So sober and awake, I never thought to act, Devoted and ashamed, Wanted to call my ex, To hear him say my name, Over the phone to me” is something that we’ve all gone through, but Flay sums it up succinctly and laconically. The music is a slower version of Blood in the Cut, but instead of the anger, we have slightly redemptive tones and a subtle aching of melancholy.
The next two songs are slower, and this pace if reflective in the subject matter. Dreamers is basically about if you could what would you re-do differently, but at the same time realising that only you can control your life. The EP closes with You Felt Right in which Flay tells the story of a romance that never quite happened, but resonated deeply. The music is laidback, but with occasional bass drops, however the soaring chours could be the stand out event on EP. The lyrics are like a diamond bullet to the head “I’m always in the wrong place at the wrong time, Headed on a bad trip with the wrong high, I don’t really know why, But you felt right to me, I hadn’t had a good thing in a long time, Moving in the fast lane with the wrong guy, I don’t really know why, But you felt right to me”. In a weird way You Felt Right should open the EP, as it’s the start of the story, but ending it feels more fitting.
Crush Me shows that Flay hasn’t lost any of her musical and lyrically prowess, as it’s is visceral, yet tender. This juxtaposition is what makes Flay one of the most exciting musicians on the scene today. Let’s hope that there is more of this calibre in Flay’s harddrive as it sounds like her has a fire in her belly and something to say. When an artist has these at the same time anything can happen!