I listen to a decent amount of music, but when I come across something I really love and see that it’s been out for a long time I still pause and wonder whether I’ve been living under a rock. Kelsey Lu’s debut Church made me do just that. Arriving in July of last year (making this post a hot SEVEN months late), this beautifully haunting six song release has had a hand in changing my preferences almost entirely as of late, forcing me to dig up records like Yann Tiersen & Shannon Wright’s intensely gloomy 2005 self titled collaboration.
With the almost eight minute opening track “Dreams,” the tone is set immediately. It finds it’s strength in patience and simplicity, largely working with just her voice and cello; and with a sound that’s as arresting as this it doesn’t really require anything else. The second track features her playing with a lighter sound, using melodic plucking as the backdrop (think Andrew Bird, “Something Sinister”). However when she introduces the strings on top of that it shifts the mood back to a darker sound.
The rest of Church, while never feeling repetitious, maintains the atmosphere; intense in nature, soothing in reality. It’s a remarkably mature first work, and I love the eastern sounds weaved in throughout. Kelsey’s vocals complement her brand perfectly (I love last half of "Morning After Coffee") and I think that’s what solidifies the effectiveness. While I’m generally partial to orchestral and classical sounds when it comes to my everyday, this adds a new element I wasn’t aware I had been craving. It grips you instantly as her style feels extremely visual, and if this is the beginning of her career I can only imagine the artistic heights she’s capable of ascending too. This is easily one of the most exciting artists I've come across in awhile.