Kacey Johansing – The Hiding
Night Bloom Records – 8 June 2018 (UK/EU)
The Hiding, a brand new album from Kacey Johansing, has just been released and, to be honest, it has been an extremely difficult review to write. The album has been in my car for several weeks, and don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love it. Nevertheless, there is a problem, which is that within seconds of the opening track Bow and Arrow kicking off the album, all intentions of working go completely out the window. All I want to do is borrow someone’s convertible and hit the road with the sun at my back. Finally, I have managed to curtail such impulsions and put pen to paper.
Hold Steady comes up next and it becomes ever so apparent that this album will be all about the groove. The blend of electric guitars and synths are so natural and musical. The bass and drums are completely in sync yet enjoying their own freedom. All of this wonderful musicianship provides the perfect foundation for the voice. Kaceys’ vocals are effortless, her phrasing loose and carefree, oozing self-confidence. Her tone sets the warmth that trickles through every aspect of this record.
I would be vexed if Do You Want Me was not picked up by UK Radio playlists this summer. Not only is it one of the most perfect summer songs I have heard in years, but I would go out on a limb to say that I would much prefer that my daughter find inspiration in the overall creative and liberating vibe of Kacey Johansing than a lot of females on today’s pop radio.
In Too Deep clarifies something that I’ve been thinking since the album opened. There is a lot of ‘War on Drugs’ in Kacey’s sound, of whom I am a fan. Sometimes in the said band, however, the song gets lost behind the wall of sound. With Kacey, this never happens. The sound of this album is spectacular but if it was played with just vocal and guitar, the songs would be just as strong. This is exampled perfectly in the title track The Hiding that for a good two minutes is just Kacey and a lovely roomy electric guitar. It’s an incredible piece both in performance and sonically and is one I will be returning to a lot.
Old Feeling, Old Foe is a fantastic title and concept, delivered in a simple but contemporary Gram Parsons style. The pedal steel sets the tone perfectly as does Kacey, slipping into her role seamlessly. As she does with Take One Leave One, a real-time stream of consciousness, where all of her personas are trying to get a word in, but she remains ever calm and centred.
Evergreen finishes the album in style. There is a lot of hurt in this album once you start to dig deep. But Evergreen carries hope. Perhaps the journey of ‘The Hiding’ has healed Kacey Johansing, but whatever she has gone through to create this collection of songs, I do hope she can tap into it again and again.
“I will not be the one to force nor the one to reside…” is a statement in Power of Love
And she never does, certainly not in her performance. The album oozes into your consciousness. Kacey has a lot to get off her chest. Her need is to speak rather than be listened to. As a result, there is nothing contrived or cliché.
I am resisting the urge to list all of the different influences I hear in all of her songs because I don’t think it would be fair to Kacey. My guess is that she is a sponge, open to everyone and everything. It allows her mindfulness, experiencing everything the world has to offer, yet leaves her vulnerable to be hurt by people. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and in this case, provides an album that is better than anything I have heard from the States this year.
Kacey Johansing’s voice is mesmerising, her songs are perfect, and the album ‘The Hiding’ is a sonic masterpiece. This album will make your summer better, no matter the weather.